Polycentricity: From Polanyi to Ostrom, and Beyond

Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 237-262, April 2012

Posted: 19 Sep 2012

See all articles by Paul Dragos Aligica

Paul Dragos Aligica

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Vlad Tarko

Dickinson College - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The article overviews and elaborates the concept of polycentricity, defined as a structural feature of social systems of many decision centers having limited and autonomous prerogatives and operating under an overarching set of rules. The article starts by introducing the concept as it was advanced by Michael Polanyi and developed by Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. It continues introducing possible instances of polycentricity as well as related notions, as part of an attempt to further elaborate the concept through a concept design approach that systematically applies the logic of necessary and sufficient conditions. The article concludes by arguing that the polycentricity conceptual framework is not only a robust analytical structure for the study of complex social phenomena, but is also a challenging method of drawing non-ad hoc analogies between different types of self-organizing complex social systems.

Suggested Citation

Aligica, Paul Dragos and Tarko, Vlad, Polycentricity: From Polanyi to Ostrom, and Beyond (2012). Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 237-262, April 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2149165

Paul Dragos Aligica (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Vlad Tarko

Dickinson College - Department of Economics ( email )

Room 120, Althouse Hall
Carlisle, PA 17013
United States

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