Individual Sovereignty and Coproduction of Knowledge Governance

34 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020

See all articles by Edward J. Lopez

Edward J. Lopez

Western Carolina University - College of Business; Liberty Fund, Inc.

Date Written: August 2020


Common pooling of knowledge goods requires effective governance institutions to avoid over depletion or under provision. Following recent literature, this paper treats the institutions of knowledge goods governance as dually coproduced in provision and shared in consumption. I combine a notion of individual sovereignty from political economy with a scalar analysis of the knowledge content of goods exchanged within a community. Insofar as the economic value of goods depends on knowledge content, and less on physical expression, exchange acts are speech acts. Therefore, communities where individuals have high exchange rights also feature a high form of speech rights. In these contexts, agents contribute to governance as an outcome of their ordinary economic activity. Therefore, entrepreneurship within rules and entrepreneurship to alter rules are not distinct actions. The paper relies on a combination of constitutive and regulative rules within a community, as defined by economic and social rather than geographic or political boundaries. Individuals use sovereign exchange and speech acts to interact within given rules, and in doing so they also contribute to the coproduction of governance, acting at once as both economic and institutional entrepreneurs.

Keywords: knowledge commons, institutional entrepreneurship, individual sovereignty

JEL Classification: D7, D8, O34

Suggested Citation

Lopez, Edward J., Individual Sovereignty and Coproduction of Knowledge Governance (August 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Edward J. Lopez (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University - College of Business ( email )

College of Business
Forsyth 315E
Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States


Liberty Fund, Inc. ( email )

11301 N. Meridian Street
Carmel, IN 46032
United States


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