Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems

Transnational Corporations Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2010

12 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2012

See all articles by Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

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

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This excerpt describes the intellectual journey that I have taken the last half-century from when I began graduate studies in the late 1950s. The early efforts to understand the polycentric water industry in California were formative for me. In addition to working with Vincent Ostrom and Charles Tiebout as they formulated the concept of polycentric systems for governing metropolitan areas, I studied the efforts of a large group of private and public water producers facing the problem of an overdrafted groundwater basin on the coast and watching saltwater intrusion threaten the possibility of long-term use. Then, in the 1970s, I participated with colleagues in the study of polycentric police industries serving U.S. metropolitan areas to find that the dominant theory underlying massive reform proposals was incorrect. Metropolitan areas served by a combination of large and small producers could achieve economies of scale in the production of some police services and avoid diseconomies of scale in the production of others.

Keywords: polycentric, common-pool resources, institutional analysis

Suggested Citation

Ostrom, Elinor, Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems (2010). Transnational Corporations Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2019699

Elinor Ostrom (Contact Author)

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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