The Mahesh Chandra Regmi Lecture 2010
7 December, Kailash Hall, The Shankar Hotel, Lazimpat, Kathmandu
Institutions and Resources
by Elinor Ostrom
In the contemporary age of massive environmental change, understanding how institutions enhance or detract from the capabilities of those using water, forests, fisheries, and other resources to find and follow sustainable practices is a major policy issue facing leaders in all countries. In past decades, scholars have tended to recommend ‘optimal’ solutions for coping with resources. Examples exist, however, of both successful and unsuccessful efforts to establish government property, private property, or community property. We do know that the absence of any property rights—open access—related to valuable resources is associated with overuse. The resources that research has documented as working well in the field over long periods of time, differ substantially in their design but can usually be characterized as adaptive, multilevel governance systems related to complex, evolving resource systems.
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Prof Ostrom's books include Governing the Commons (1990); Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources (1994, with Roy Gardner and James Walker); Local Commons and Global Interdependence: Heterogeneity and Cooperation in Two Domains (1995, with Robert Keohane); Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research (2003, with James Walker); The Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and Adaptations (2003, with Nives Dolšak); The Samaritan’s Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development Aid (2005, with Clark Gibson, Krister Andersson, and Sujai Shivakumar); Understanding Institutional Diversity (2005); Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (2007, with Charlotte Hess); and Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice (2010, with Amy Poteete and Marco Janssen).