Governing Spectrum Commons

20 Pages Posted: 3 May 2016

Date Written: January 1, 2015


This paper adopts Ostrom's (1990) framework of governing common pool resources and applies it to electromagnetic spectrum in order to examine conventional policy prescriptions of privatisation and command-and-control, which are dominantly used in most jurisdictions for governance of spectrum. Additionally, Ostrom's design principles for long-enduring, self-organised and self-governed common pool resources are used to propose a new institutional arrangement for governing spectrum.

The paper is structured in the following manner. First, Ostrom's framework is introduced along with her critique of conventional policy prescriptions. Next, existing literature related to spectrum governance is reviewed. Finally, Ostrom's framework is applied to electromagnetic spectrum as a common pool resource in order to examine existing prescriptions for governing spectrum and further to understand her prescriptions for governing spectrum.

Keywords: ostrom, spectrum, common pool

Suggested Citation

Dara, Rishabh, Governing Spectrum Commons (January 1, 2015). TPRC 44: The 44th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2016, Available at SSRN: or

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