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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter comments on Elinor Ostrom’s 1990 book Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, which issues a direct challenge to conventional economic models of collective action. Focusing on common pool natural resources, Ostrom argues that collective action is a much more common occurrence than predicted by conventional models and proposes eight design principles associated with enduring institutions for resource management. This chapter summarizes Ostrom’s main arguments, including her critique of conventional models on the management of shared natural resources. It also looks at three influential models identified by Ostrom that represent the conventional wisdom: the tragedy of the commons, the prisoners’ dilemma, and the logic of collective action.

Keywords: Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons, economic models, collective action, natural resources, design principles, resource management, tragedy of the commons, prisoners’ dilemma

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