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Welcome to the Course

What is self-governance? In this video, Professor Mark Pennington explains the foundations of Elinor Ostrom's research programme.

On a daily basis, we are confronted with hundreds, if not thousands of social dilemmas that require governance solutions. These can include dilemmas of a global scale, like climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, or ones of a local scale, like public littering and housing availability in our communities.

In this course, we will explore a unique way to think about these governance challenges that transcend markets and states. In week one, we will discuss the collective action dilemmas that underpin many of these social problems and how different governance arrangements can help us solve them.

We’ll focus on a specific set of solutions which we call self-governing institutions. By drawing on the work of Nobel Prize winning economist Elinor Ostrom, we will explore what self-governance means, how it functions and how it relates to other forms of governance.

In weeks two and three, we’ll examine real-world case studies of self-governance and identify areas where these kinds of institutions are more or less successful at solving social problems. At the end of each week, we’ll test your knowledge with three quick quiz questions about the material. We’ll also give you a chance to reflect on the material with public polls and group discussions.

Please note, we are working on some updates to the subtitles and transcripts for the videos in the course, these will be available soon.

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The Ideal of Self-Governance: Public Policy Beyond Markets and States

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