The Ostrom Workshop: Artisanship and Knowledge Commons

42 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Erwin Dekker

Erwin Dekker

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Pavel Kuchař

University of Bristol

Date Written: April 29, 2020


This paper analyzes the Ostrom Workshop as a site of interdisciplinary collective knowledge production. We provide an overview of the history of the Workshop and its most important outputs in terms of ideas, artifacts, and facilities for research. We argue that the unique contribution of the Workshop to the social sciences came about through three types of cooperation: team production, co-production and joint production. Team production, the collaboration on research projects is well recognized in the literature, but we demonstrate how the extra-departmental position of the Workshop and its ethos of artisan-ship greatly facilitated it. Co-production of knowledge was achieved through the active engagement with self-governing communities and the agencies governing the provision of public goods. In these exchanges the goal was not merely the study of governance, but also the crafting of good governance with the relevant communities, this was congruent with the emphasis on co-production of public services by scholars of the Ostrom Workshop. Finally joint production of various complementary outputs took place by way of individual research projects on governance and institutions, and led to the gradual emergence of conceptual language and framework for the analysis of institutions, the Institutional Analysis and Development framework.

Keywords: The Ostrom Workshop, Co-Production, Joint Production, Knowledge Commons, Institutional Analysis, Elinor Ostrom

JEL Classification: A14, B25, B52, D02, L23

Suggested Citation

Dekker, Erwin and Kuchař, Pavel, The Ostrom Workshop: Artisanship and Knowledge Commons (April 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Erwin Dekker (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA

Pavel Kuchař

University of Bristol ( email )

8 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 ITN
United Kingdom

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