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Two Enduring Lessons from Elinor Ostrom

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Frischmann, Brett M.
Date: 2013
Agency: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York
Series: Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper, no. 387
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9045
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): Ostrom, Elinor
tragedy of the commons
free riding
institutional analysis--IAD framework
Abstract: "This article is a tribute to Elinor Ostrom. It explores two enduring lessons she taught: a substantive lesson that involves embracing complexity and context, and a methodological lesson that involves embracing a framework-driven approach to systematic, evolutionary learning through various interdisciplinary methodologies, theories, and empirical approaches. First, I discuss Ostroms work on environmental commons. I illustrate the two lessons through a discussion of the tragedy of the commons. Next, I explain how the two lessons play a significant role in recent efforts to extend Ostroms work on environmental commons to knowledge/cultural commons. I draw a parallel between the tragedy of the commons allegory and the free-rider allegory, and show how many of the problems Ostrom explored in the environmental context are manifest in the cultural environmental context. I discuss an ongoing research project that follows the path that Ostrom blazed and systematically studies commons in the cultural environment."

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