Lexington Press has recently finished publishing a four volume collection of the work of Elinor Ostrom and her husband Vincent–before that I do not believe the work has been gathered anyplace easily accessible. Since the price is astronomical–though well worth it for the serious scholar or scholarly library, I’m sure–I’d love to have a single-volume reader that collects the most important pieces, while perhaps leaving some of the more detail-oriented empirical and modeling work behind.
Perhaps one reason no such “Portable Ostrom” collection exists is that her work has been widely pirated online–claimed by the commons if you will–a fact that made the links below easier to find. Here are some things I might include in such a reader:
- Chapter 2 from Governing the Commons
- Her Nobel prize speech
- The introduction and conclusion from The Drama of the Commons
- Her article “Crowding Out Citizenship” from Scandinavian Political Studies.
- Perhaps too topical–and embedded in a larger research project spread over many different articles–but this piece on community control of policing in Black neighborhoods still holds up.
- “The New Civic Politics,” originally written as a framing statement for civic studies
- I happen to think that her work with Sue Crawford on the deontic logic from Understanding Institutional Diversity is really important, but I don’t see much uptake for their ADICO framework. This is probably idiosyncratic?
- Her work with Charlotte Hess for thinking about knowledge as a common pool resource, published as a chapter in this book.
Ostrom frequently plagiarized herself and many of the links above have repeated passages and arguments. She thought that the public needed access to certain information about governance and skills at self-organization that we don’t teach in school, and that mainstream economics has actively undermined. She felt an obligation–which is now ours–to find some method for expressing these insights in less technical and more accessible ways.