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Who is Elinor Ostrom?

Elinor Ostrom’s scholarly impact cannot be overstated. In this video, Dr. Nordman shares about the life and times of Elinor Ostrom. Ostrom’s research has shown that communities are not doomed …

Climate governance

Today, polycentricity has redefined the paradigm for climate governance. In this video, Dr. Nordman applies the insights of Elinor Ostrom to the contemporary challenge of climate change governance. Ostrom shifted …

Polycentricity in action

Institutions refer to the rules and norms that organise social, political and economic relations. In this video, Dr. Nordman explains how Ostrom built her theory of commons management from hundreds …

Beyond states and markets

It is not always the case that community governance will be more effective than privatisation or government control. For instance, self-governing arrangements that require a high degree of mutual trust …

Ostrom’s eight design principles

From the dozens of self-governing arrangements that she studied, Lin extracted several general principles that allow for the success of such arrangements, principles she termed as ‘design principles’. These are …

Community governance, the better alternative

Lin, however, discovered that people were able to manage common resources on their own without the need for external intervention. She demonstrated through Nobel prize-winning field work that when people …

Tragedy of the commons

After 15 years of studying police departments, Lin’s next research project took the academic world by storm and won her a Nobel prize. The second research project of Lin’s that …

Why polycentricity is good

The reason why a polycentric system outperforms a centralised administration is because polycentricity allows for both localised and efficient public institutions. Localised public institutions in turn are beneficial because certain …

Property rights

One of the common sources of environmental problems is the lack of or failure to enforce private property rights. Economists call this problem the “Tragedy of the Commons”, which is …

Researching governance & the environment

Lin studied water management in Southern California for her graduate research. Specifically, she studied the polycentric water governance system that had emerged in the region. In 1945, over-drafting a groundwater …

Intellectual breakthroughs

The next research project that Lin embarked on became her life’s work and the intellectual contribution she is best known for. She began to study the potential for small-scale local …

Clean energy in local communities

Energy production through the burning of fossil fuels was the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions, comprising 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. Switching to renewable sources …