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Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons

Economia delle fonti di energia e dell’ambiente, Vol. 52, No. 1, pp. 35-60

40 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2008 Last revised: 12 Jun 2011

Xavier Basurto

Duke Marine Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment

Elinor Ostrom

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 1, 2009

Abstract

To move beyond Hardin's tragedy of the commons, it is fundamental to avoid falling into either of two analytical and policy traps: (1) deriving and recommending "panaceas" or (2) asserting "my case is unique." We can move beyond both traps by self-consciously building diagnostic theory to help unpack and understand the complex interrelationship between social and biophysical factors at different levels of analysis. We need to look for commonalities and differences across studies. This understanding will be augmented if the rich detail produced from case studies is used together with theory to find patterned structures among cases. In this paper, we briefly illustrate important steps of how we can go about diagnosing the emergence and sustainability of self-organization in the fishing context of the Gulf of California, Mexico. By doing so, we are able to move away from the universality proposed by Hardin and understand how two out of three fisheries were able to successfully self-organize, and why one of them continues to be robust over time.

Keywords: sustainable development, renewable resources fisheries, renewable resources commons

Suggested Citation

Basurto, Xavier and Ostrom, Elinor, Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons (October 1, 2009). Economia delle fonti di energia e dell’ambiente, Vol. 52, No. 1, pp. 35-60. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1304688

Xavier Basurto (Contact Author)

Duke Marine Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment ( email )

135 Duke Marine Lab Road
Beaufort, NC 28516-9721
United States

Elinor Ostrom

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science

Bloomington, IN
United States

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