Introduction to Ostrom's Tensions: Examining the Political Economy and Public Policy of Elinor C. Ostrom (book)
published in Herzberg, Roberta Q., Peter J. Boettke, and Paul Dragos Aligica, eds. Ostrom's Tensions: Examining the Political Economy and Public Policy of Elinor C. Ostrom (Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2019)
20 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2021
Date Written: 2019
Elinor Ostrom (1933–2012) influenced fields ranging from institutional analysis to metropolitan service delivery, from federalism and theories of polycentric orders to common-pool resource management and sustainable development. Her seminal book, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (1990), put forward new approaches to institutional economics that would shape scholarship across multiple fields. In 2009, Ostrom was named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Oliver E. Williamson, with particular recognition for her path-breaking work on institutions organized to address common-pool resource settings.
This new collection of essays illuminates important aspects of Ostrom's contributions and how they shape our understanding of institutions, constitutions, and the prospects for self-governance and also identify critical tensions that remain to be studied. The theoretical tensions considered range from issues of the cohesiveness of the research program to its comparison with well-accepted theoretical approaches to the evaluation of those specific, unresolved theoretical puzzles posed by the underlying assumptions in the Ostroms’ scholarship. Together, they offer a sample of today’s wide range of interpretive and critical engagement with the Ostroms’ intellectual legacy.
This chapter provides an introduction to the volume and an overview of Ostrom's important work.
Keywords: Elinor Ostrom, Nobel prize, political economy, institutions, polycentricity, Institutional Analysis, Polycentric Governance, IAD Framework, commons
JEL Classification: Q00, Q20, B52, D02, E14, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation