October 19, 2009

Visiting Professor Position

The Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University has a visiting professorship program for scholars employed in non-OECD countries and Mexico to spend a sabbatical at the center. Each financial year the program will support one 12 month visit or two 6 month visits with a stipend of up to $40,000 on an annual basis. This will allow the visitor to stay at the center and interact with faculty and students and participate with the broader community of ASU. To be considered for this program, the visiting professor should:

• have a regular professor appointment or equivalent in a non-OECD country or of Mexico;
• have an independent research agenda that overlaps with the aims of the center and;
• be willing to deliver a number of seminars during their stay.

This position is aimed at those on sabbatical leave who are interested in spending it at ASU within the period July 1 2010 – June 30 2011. To apply for this program applications must include the following:

• a most recent CV;
• one or more relevant publications and;
• names and addresses of referees.

Proposals should be submitted under one cover via email to Marco.Janssen@asu.edu by March 1, 2010. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.

October 15, 2009

Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom from IASC President Ruth Meinzen-Dick

Monday’s news of Elinor Ostrom winning the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences is still reverberating, causing much excitement. In awarding the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted it is "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons". It is so encouraging to see the explicit recognition, by the economics profession, of her landmark studies in the factors that encourage cooperation.

Those who have been privileged to work with her know how richly deserved this recognition is. Those who are not familiar with her work, who still believe in the inevitability of Garrett Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons” have a treat in store, discovering her research. She is a brilliant scholar who can still communicate her ideas to a wide audience, an inspiring teacher and generous colleague.

I am fortunate to be in the former group. I have been following her work on cooperation for managing water, forests, and other shared resources (even the internet!) for more than 20 years. She was the founding President of the International Association for Study of the Commons (IASC), instrumental in building an organization that brings together researchers and practitioners to build understanding and improve institutions for the management of resources that are (or could be) held or used collectively by communities in developing or developed countries. I’m privileged to be the current President of IASC, able to build on the foundations of her work and that of hundreds of others who are helping to learn how to craft institutions to govern the commons effectively.

From this vantage point, let me point out two aspects of Prof. Ostrom’s work that are noteworthy, especially for a Nobel Laureate in Economics Sciences. The first is that her work is grounded in empirical observations. She draws on theory, but also questions the underlying assumptions and tests them against the actual behavior of people and institutions. She looks for the commonalities—and differences—in the way people relate to different types of resources, in developing countries as well as the US and other industrialized countries, using case studies, structured comparable data collection across sites, and experimental games, both in the lab and in the field.

The second significant aspect of her work is that she is transcends disciplines. A political scientist who wins the highest prize in economics, she works with the whole range of social scientists, but also with foresters, ecologists, mathematicians, … the list goes on. She learns from each discipline, and offers conceptual frameworks (notably the Institutional Analysis and Design, or IAD framework) that help integrate knowledge and insights. And more importantly, the combination of perspectives helps to address important practical problems of resource management and crafting institutions that are sustainable and equitable.

For those who want to learn more, a list of her key publications that are available free online is at www.iasc-commmons.org . Over 100 of her online articles are also available in the Digital Library of the Commons at http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/browse?value=Ostrom%2C+Elinor&type=author

See what others thought of her award:

* Elinor Ostrom and the Future of Economics (Umair Haque, Harvard Business)
* Elinor Ostrom breaks the Nobel mould (Kevin Gallagher, Guardian)
* Governing the Commons (Vernon Smith, Forbes)

(This blog posting is copublished with the International Food Policy Research Institute www.ifpri.org)

October 12, 2009

Press Conference of Elinor Ostrom named Nobel laureate

Elinor Ostrom wins Nobel Prize in Economics

Elinor (Lin) Ostrom, a past president, founding member, and active inspiration to the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) has been selected as a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. In awarding the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted it is "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons".

“Many natural resources, such as fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins are managed as common property. That is, many users have access to the resource in question. If we want to halt the degradation of our natural environment and prevent a repetition of the many collapses of natural‐resource stocks experienced in the past, we should learn from the successes and failures of common‐property regimes. Ostrom’s work teaches us novel lessons about the deep mechanisms that sustain cooperation in human societies.”

The theme of the award is Economic governance: the organization of cooperation.

Prof. Ostrom shares the award with Oliver E. Williamson "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm"

The International Association for the Study of the Commons DEEPLY congratulates Dr. Ostrom for this well‐deserved recognition of her research on “Governing the Commons”. And want to let her know how privileged and happy we feel to have her as a mentor and colleague at IASC.

We encourage anyone interested in more information to read the prize committee’s excellent overviews of the contributions of these new laureates, with versions for the general public at


and for the scientific community at