An Ostrom Reader

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… Continue reading An Ostrom Reader

Ice Cream Trucks and other Drug Dealers

To be clear, I’m not endorsing drug markets, or even beating up your food truck competitors. But I find it strange when ordinary human behavior–often the laudatory kind that is responding to a larger abuse of power with small-scale violence–is pathologized by my fellow liberals who recognize the small-scale violence but ignore the larger abuses.

The Symmetry of Rival and Anti-Rival Goods

A shoveled sidewalk is a strange sort of common pool resource: it’s not like fisheries or irrigation where the more one person uses the resource, the less there is for others. That is, it’s not precisely “rivalrous,” one of two conditions required for a common-pool resource to flourish. In fact, the more people shovel their sidewalks, the better off each individual with a shoveled sidewalk is. This is what economists call “anti-rivalry” and is frequently linked to network effects.

What can small groups do?

I’ve just returned from two weeks at the Tufts Summer Institute of Civic Studies, which culminated in a conference attended by 117 researchers, practitioners, philanthropists, and public officials interested in expanding the role of citizens in our democracy. Peter Levine summed up the conference here: The Frontiers conference was modeled on No Better Time, a… Continue reading What can small groups do?