Polycentric Circles Vol.3, N.1

Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
Edited by: Margaret Polski  
Layout & Design by: Patty Dalecki
Volume 3, Number 1, December 1996  
Co-Directors: Elinor & Vincent Ostrom

Visiting Scholars
Recent Publications



E. Somanathan recently sent us a reprint of his article with Rajiv Sethi on "The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use," American Economic Review, Vol. 86, No. 4, September 1996, pp. 766-88. This paper is a formal extension of Lin Ostrom, Roy Gardner, and Jimmy Walker's work in Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources (1994). Somanathan is Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Emory University. His current research includes an econometric study of the causes of deforestation in the Nilgiri hills of south India and a statistical study comparing forest quality in community-managed forests in the Himalayas in north India.

It Works in the Field

Workshoppers labor in diverse ways to refine our understanding of how institutional arrangements can solve a variety of political-economic dilemmas. In a recent note to Lin, Carlos Vacaflores and the IFRI Research Team at PROMETA, Tarija, BOLIVIA, enthusiastically endorsed the usefulness of these approaches in a field setting.

"Creation of protected areas in the Department of Tarija, located in southern Bolivia, goes back to the 1990s. One of the main problems facing protected areas in Bolivia is the lack of management plans. One of the major obstacles in developing plans is the scarcity of information and data regarding human presence and biodiversity.

"In 1991, PROMETA, a private, non-profit conservation organization in Tarija, began working to develop a participatory management plan for the Tariquia Flora and Fauna National Reserve. This Reserve is characterized as Yungas, or mountain forest, and is one of the best remaining examples of this ecosystem in Bolivia. One of the greatest threats to the Reserve is seasonal cattle ranching and lumber extraction. In an effort to understand these activities, PROMETA conducted a biodiversity and socioeconomic study in the Reserve. The IFRI methodology was used to analyze resources and access. Five site studies were conducted from 1994-1996, providing extremely useful information.

"The IFRI methodology proved exceptionally valuable because it allowed us to understand the natural management units related to a forest with common access and use. Now, PROMETA is in a position to propose and project management needs for sub-areas within the Reserve which are affected by seasonal cattle ranching. In the eastern part of the Reserve, the IFRI methodology led us to use IAD principles to design a communal forest management plan for the community of Chiquiaca. We found the IAD framework very useful in understanding the mechanisms used by local people to manage their environment. After testing and adjustment, PROMETA hopes to use this process in other communities within the Reserve.

"The research program's future studies will include fish, an important resource in family economies, social capital, and mechanisms to strengthen common resource use. We hope to involve all communities in managing the protected area."

Calling All African Scholars

The Research Group on Local Institutions in Nigeria (REGOLIN)—initiated by Dele Olowu and including Dele Ayo, John Erero, Matthew Okotoni, and several other scholars at Nigerian universities—is publishing a new journal, African Journal of Institutions and Development (AJID). They welcome contributions from Workshoppers who may also wish to subscribe to the journal. Inquiries may be directed to John Erero, who is serving as editor of the journal:


Safe and Civil

Bloomington City Mayor John Fernandez asked Roger Parks and Lin Ostrom to participate on the Bloomington Safe and Civil City Task Force along with a representative group of citizens and public officials from the City of Bloomington, Monroe County, and Indiana University. The Task Force commenced in August and will make its final report in April 1998.

Civics 101 Anyone?

Members of the American Political Science Association may wish to look at the announcement in the December issue of Political Science about the "Task Force on Civic Education for the Next Century," established by APSA at its August council meetings (p. 753). The objective of the Task Force is to address the need for civic education and civic engagement by teaching students the theory, purposes, and skills of involvement in a wide range of voluntary associations and governing agencies in their own communities as well as in large national and international organizations. The Task Force is chaired by Melvin J. Dubnick of Rutgers University and Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago. Members include Leif H. Carter, Colorado College; Mary Hepburn, University of Georgia; Donald Lutz, University of Houston; Susan MacManus, University of South Florida; Ronald Oakerson, Houghton College; Robert Putnam, Harvard University; and Edward Thompson III, of California State University, San Marcos. Please send any teaching materials that address the role of citizens in sustaining democratic systems or ideas that you would like to see the Task Force pursue to Lin Ostrom at the Workshop, or to Dr. Sheilah Mann, APSA, 1527 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

At Large

Collecting social and biological data, training, and searching for research partners in the first IFRI/CIPEC research collaboration in the Amazon in BRAZIL, June 19-August 11, Joby Jerrells discovered that the closer he went to the source of production, the more bananas cost. Now why might that be?

Lin Ostrom is leaving for the airport even more than usual this year after assuming her duties as President of the American Political Science Association in August. She enjoyed the chance to see many colleagues at regional APSA meetings this fall in Atlanta and Boston. She will be attending the Southwestern, Western, and Midwestern meetings during the Spring, and the International meetings in Seoul, SOUTH KOREA, next summer. She will give her Presidential address at the national meetings in Washington, D.C., August 28-31, 1997.

As part of their many activities to promote peace and conciliation in the Sudan, Wal and Julia Duany participated in the "Conference on Managing Communications: Lessons from Interventions in Africa" and "Conversations on Racial Ethnic Ministries, Multicultural Church, and Immigrant Groups," July 6-8, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This conference is part of an initiative entitled "Virtual Diplomacy," which explores the role of information technologies in preventing, managing, and resolving international conflict. These events were sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the National Defense University.

Going Global

Aseem Prakash, Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Associate in the Workshop, and Jeffrey Hart, Professor of Political Science, organized a multidisciplinary conference in Indianapolis on "Globalization and Governance," October 12-13. The conference was sponsored by the Center for International Business Education and Research at Purdue and a consortium of departments at IU Bloomington, including the Workshop. Lin Ostrom chaired a session on the concept of governance and Michael McGinnis and Larry Schroeder served as discussants. Participants will produce an edited volume that explores how economic globalization may impact establishing institutions to organize collective action.

Democracy Fellows

The Bradley Foundation has awarded a grant to Indiana University to fund a Democracy Fellows program based in the Workshop. The program will support study at the Workshop for individuals who are either actively engaged in efforts to increase the self-governing capabilities of citizens in their own countries or who study or write about the processes involved in self-governance. Participants will be selected in a competitive process and funded on an academic-year basis.


Clark Gibson, Post-Doctoral Fellow, CIPEC, won the 1996 Best Dissertation in Political Economy Award from the American Political Science Association for, "Politicians, Peasants, and Poachers: The Political Economy of Wildlife Policy in Zambia, 1964-1991." Clark took his Ph.D. from Duke University where he was advised by Robert Bates.

Patty and Jacek Dalecki announce the birth of Stefan Jacek, 8lb., 1oz., on June 28, 1996. Patty has returned to work part-time.

William Gombya-Ssembajjwe defended his Ph.D. dissertation in the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Wales in Bangor in September, based on his study of forest institutions in Uganda. His dissertation chair is Dr. Colin Price.

Aseem Prakash, Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Associate in the Workshop, has been nominated by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Awards Committee for the Lieber Associate Instructor Award. This is a Bloomington campus award recognizing distinguished teaching.

Catherine Tucker and Percy Iruri announce the birth of Alec Andrew Iruri-Tucker, 7lb., 13oz., on September 30, 1996.

Reva White is engaged to be married May 31, 1997. The fortunate fellow is David Kreie, an Indianapolis architect.
Research Assistant Positions

The Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) announces several Research Assistant positions for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. degree in any discipline with a focus on the human dimension of global change. Applications for admission should be sent to the relevant department or school with a letter to Lin Ostrom by January 15, 1997 outlining their research interests. 


Grass Roots Federalist
Reform in Mexico

Carolina Bolívar, Alberto Ortega, and Carlos Medina visited Bloomington from August 21-23, 1996, to explore aspects of institutional analysis and design with regard to a series of colloquia on federalism and reform in Mexico. Brian Loveman from San Diego State University joined the discussions. Elinor Ostrom, Vincent Ostrom, Roger Parks, Cathy Tucker, Steve McCracken, Clark Gibson, and Paul Turner represented the Workshop and CIPEC components. Discussion focused on the problems of reform politics as distinguished from normal patterns of partisan politics, the organization of public economies as distinguished from market economies, and the relationship of institutional arrangements to CPR problems for both rural and urban development. Future plans for colloquia on federalism and the development of a "workshop" in federalism and self-government were explored.

The future of reform in Mexico is likely to be closely tied to discussions about federalism and self-governance. Lin and Vincent, Brian Loveman, and Cathy Tucker attended a conference on "Reflections on the Legislative Agenda of Federalism," organized by Carolina Bolívar and Alberto Ortega in Oaxaca, December 5-7.

Gunther H. Engelhardt, Institute of Public Finance, University of Hamburg, GERMANY, visited the Workshop for several weeks this fall. Dr. Engelhardt is using approaches associated with new institutional economics to understand the potential for cooperative arrangements between public and private organizations to provide local public services.

Sam Joseph, Action Aid, visited the Workshop in September to discuss a project that Action Aid has initiated in Somalia and search the Workshop library for case studies that would be relevant in helping local participants develop their own institutional arrangements for providing schools, health facilities, and other local infrastructure projects.

Rejean Landry, Department of Political Science, Laval University, Quebec, CANADA, visited in October. Among many other projects, Professor Landry is developing a transaction cost approach to analyzing incomplete governance arrangements.

Alexander Obolonsky, Institute of State and Law, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, RUSSIA, spent September in Bloomington, working on the final draft of an English-language version of The Drama of Russian Political History. The drama is the playing out of deep conflicts about cultural, ethical, and personality orientations to group demands for conformity in contrast to aspirations for individual creativity and responsibility. It extends from the beginning of the Romanov dynasty to the Yeltsin presidency. Both The Drama of Russian Political History and The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies (Vincent Ostrom, forthcoming) were used to highlight basic paradigmatic problems in the Workshop seminar on the constitution of order in human societies. Alexis de Tocqueville's statement about the Russians and the Americans at the end of the first volume of Democracy in America is likely to become the basis for further inquiries to be pursued by Alex and Vincent.

 Axel Ostmann, Department of Economics at the University of Saarland, in Saarbrucken, GERMANY, visited the Workshop from October 2-16 to discuss the field and experimental studies of common-pool resources underway at his university. The German Science Foundation has funded a study of "Cooperative Management of Crises in Environmental Commons." Colleagues who would like to see an overview of the projects and download some of the relevant papers may want to look at their home page at: home.html.d

Oliver Williamson, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, visited the Workshop on September 27, 1996, to discuss extensions of his path-breaking work in transaction cost economics to understanding the relationship between governance structures and economic development.

Toshio Yamagishi, Department of Behavioral Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, JAPAN, visited the Workshop during October to plan a joint research program on the study of trust with Jimmy Walker and Lin Ostrom. A series of experiments have already been undertaken in Japan where subjects have been randomly assigned to several types of two-person Prisoner's Dilemma games involving several information conditions about the order of moves of the two players. A similar series of experiments will be run in Bloomington to see if there are cross-cultural differences in trusting behavior in these types of situations.


Arun Agrawal, Political Science Department, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. Arun is spending the year in Bloomington and India completing a book on nomadic shepherds in India entitled, "Greener Pastures: Exchange, Politics and Community among a Mobile Pastoral People." He is also working with Clark Gibson on a book on the role of community in sustainable development and management of common-pool resources.

S. B. (Dele) Ayo, Department of Public Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, NIGERIA. Dele is working on a study that compares state administrative patterns with indigenous institutional arrangements for the administration of community affairs among the Yoruba in Nigeria. Dele hopes to provide the basis for coursework on the administration of community affairs among the faculties of public administration in Africa.

Julia Duany, Post-doctoral Fellow, is interested in applying Workshop methods to understanding and reforming conditions of life for women and children in the Sudan. She is pursuing a study on "Making Peace" and the role of women in the peace process.

Wal Duany, Visiting Research Fellow, is working on a book about the peace process among the Nuer in the Sudan. He and Julia are particularly interested in grass-roots initiatives within Christian communities to promote peace and conciliation.

Malgorzata Korzycka-Iwanow, Department of Agricultural Law, Warsaw University, POLAND. Malgorzata continues to work on a project she began last year related to developments in intellectual property rights, genetic engineering, and agricultural production.

Peter Örebech, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromso, NORWAY. Peter is studying the legal conditions for transforming customary use of public property into law. He is comparing Anglo-American and Norwegian legal decisions and investigating a possible common Roman-law heritage. While he is studying a broad range of common property resources, he is particularly interested in legal rights associated with fisheries.

Renée Smith, Department of Political Science, University of Rochester, NY. Renée is currently investigating institutional changes associated with evolution of the presidency in the United States.

Mark Sproule-Jones, Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Ontario, CANADA. Mark is working on a book about the institutional arrangements related to restoring the Great Lakes.

9/30/96 9/30/95 Growth Rate
(in thousands of $)
Market Value 1,363 1,165 17%
Gain (Loss)  198
Estimated Income 57 50 14%
Gain (Loss) 7 
INFLATION RATE 3.0% (Twelve-month rate of consumer-price inflation in the U.S.) Source: The Economist. 


S. B. (Dele) Ayo, Department of Public Administration, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, NIGERIA

Pascale Delnooz, Fondation Universitaire Luxembourgeoise, Arlon, BELGIUM

Nahoko Hayashi, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, JAPAN

Malgorzata Korzycka-Iwanow, Department of Agricultural Law, Warsaw University, POLAND

COLLOQUIA Gunther Engelhardt, University of Hamburg, Germany, "Symbiotic Arrangements in Metropolitan Government Third-Sector Interaction," September 16

Peter Örebech, University of Tromso, Norway, "Giving Value to Public Property Rights; Might the Principle of Restoration Help?," September 23

Arun Agrawal, "The Community vs. the Market and the State: Forest Use in Uttarakhand in the Indian Himalayas," September 30

Axel Ostmann, University of Sarrland, Germany, "How Members of a Common Deal with Inspection and Overcrop," October 7

Toshio Yamagishi, Hokkaido University, Japan, "In-group Favoritism and the Culture of Collectivism," October 14

Rejean Landry, Laval University, Canada, "A Framework for the Study of Incomplete Institutions," October 21

Mark Sproule-Jones, McMaster University, Canada, "Restoring the Great Lakes," October 28

Ron Harstad, "Experimental Methods and Elicitation of Values," November 4

Eric Rasmusen, Business School, IU Bloomington, "The Economics of Desecration: Flag Burning and Related Activities," November 11

Renée Smith, Rochester University, New York, "Campaigning, Governing, and the Emergence of the Modern Presidency," November 18

Richard Steinberg, Department of Economics, Public Affairs, & Philanthropic Studies, IU Purdue, "Rationing by Nonprofit Organizations with Distributional Objectives: An Exploratory Survey," December 2

Thomas Lyon, School of Business, IU Bloomington, "Industrial Policy and Regional Innovation Networks: A Proposed Empirical Analysis of Italy," December 9



John Branigin has joined the Workshop as Research Library Coordinator, giving Charlotte Hess some much-needed support. At the moment, he is literally taking some weight off the 3rd floor, archiving our heavy-weight collection of municipal government studies.

Michelle Curtain has joined the Workshop as an Administrative Assistant. As the first full-time Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association for the Study of Common Property, she has been busy writing a history of IASCP, establishing an archive for the Association, and updating the membership registry.

Julie England, our invaluable technical support artist, has taken a Programmer position with the CIPEC research project. We are pleased that H. Robert (Bob) Lezotte has agreed to join the Workshop as her replacement in early January. Bob previously provided programming, software, and technical support to the Medical Sciences Department, IU Medical School.

In the meantime, Susan Fine, an IU Junior majoring in Computer Information Systems, is assisting Julie and Ray Eliason with computer system support on a part-time basis.

David Kessler reports that he is hard at work at Kent State University in the Criminal Justice Studies Department.

David Wilson, a doctoral student in the Early Music Institute of Indiana University, is sharing reception duties with Sara Colburn, a Soprano and graduate student in the School of Music. When David is not at the front desk, he pursues an active career as a Baroque violinist. And while we know all graduate students are long-suffering, Sara's willingness to coach Mark Sproule-Jones' voice lessons merits extra points.




Bogason, Peter, ed. 1996. New Modes of Local Political Organizing: Local Government Fragmentation in Scandinavia. Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.

Chmielewski, Piotr. 1995. Ludzie i instytucje: Z historii i teorii nowego instytucjonalizmu [People and Institutions: From History and Theory of the New Institutionalism].Warsaw, Poland.

Ostrom, Vincent. Forthcoming 1997. The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Agrawal, Arun. 1996. "Poststructuralist Approaches to Development: Some Critical Reflections." Peace & Change 21(4) (Oct.): 464-77.

Allen, Barbara. 1996. "Tocqueville's Analysis of Belief in a Transcendent Order, Enlightened Interest and Democracy." Journal of Theoretical Politics 8(3):383-414.

Bogason, Peter. 1996. "The Fragmentation of Local Government in Scandinavia." European Journal of Political Research 30 (July): 65-86.

Carlsson, Lars. 1996. "Nonhierarchical Implementation Analysis: An Alternative to the Methodological Mismatch in Policy Analysis." Journal of Theoretical Politics 8(4) (Oct.): 527-46.

Carlsson, Lars. 1996. "Small Solutions of a Big Problem." Moderna Tider 72(7) (Oct.): 48-49.

Eggertsson, Thráinn. 1996. "The Economics of Control and the Cost of Property Rights." In Rights to Nature: Ecological, Economic, Cultural, and Political Principles of Institutions for the Environment, ed. Susan Hanna, Carl Folke, and Karl-Gorän Mäler, 157-75. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Feeny, David, Susan Hanna, and Arthur F. McEvoy. 1996. "Questioning the Assumptions of the 'Tragedy of the Commons' Model of Fisheries." Land Economics 72(2) (May): 187-205.

Lam, Wai Fung. 1996. "Institutional Design of Public Agencies and Coproduction: A Study of Irrigation Associations in Taiwan." World Development 24(6) (June): 1,039-54.

McGinnis, Michael. 1996. "Elinor Ostrom: A Career in Institutional Analysis." Political Science & Politics XXIX(4) (Dec.): 737-41.

Ostrom, Elinor. 1996. "Covenants, Collective Action, and Common-Pool Resources." In The Constitution of Good Societies, ed. Karol Edward Soltan and Stephen L. Elkin, 23-38. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.

Ostrom, Elinor. 1996. "Civic Education for the Next Century: A Task Force to Initiate Professional Activity." Political Science & Politics XXIX(4) (Dec.): 755-58.

Ostrom, Elinor. 1996. "Crossing the Great Divide: Coproduction, Synergy, and Development." World Development 24(6) (June): 1,073-87.

Ostrom, Elinor, and Edella Schlager. 1996. "The Formation of Property Rights." In Rights to Nature: Ecological, Economic, Cultural, and Political Principles of Institutions for the Environment, ed. Susan Hanna, Carl Folke, and Karl-Gorän Mäler, 127-56. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

A Personal Note


Following a routine physical examination in June, I learned that my PSA readings were somewhat elevated, indicating the possibility of prostate cancer. Further diagnostic tests confirmed this possibility, with the cancer probably still confined to the prostate—a good sign. Hormonal therapy this Fall brought a marked decline in my PSA levels. My complete treatment regimen will include direct radiation therapy, scheduled to begin on December 23, and continuing for a few minutes each day, five days per week for seven weeks.  

This is an early diagnosis and my prognosis is good. I have been feeling well but expect that radiation therapy may be taxing. I am hopeful that my energy level and productivity will return to their current high levels by Spring. We have plans to visit China and Korea before the APSA meetings in Washington, August 28-31, 1997. We hope to see many of you there, in good health and with active plans for work to be done.  

IASCP information and research now on the Internet
The International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP) announces a new information resource on the Internet:  

The IASCP World Wide Web site <>  

The aim of the IASCP World Wide Web home page is three-fold:   

1. To make information about the association widely accessible to members and potential members. The home page includes the association's Mission Statement, History, and Bylaws. Also on-line are Membership Forms; a list of the IASCP Council Members; information about the CPR Digest; and association activities, including information on the Annual Conferences. And available for the first time electronically is the IASCP Membership Directory.
    2. To improve the lines of communication between IASCP members.  
In the Announcements section, members are encouraged to participate in the IASCP home page by posting announcements about research activities and projects; recent publications; recommended reading; e-mail discussion groups and other WWW links; conference descriptions and calls for papers; grant information; and position announcements.  
    3. To more widely disseminate information and knowledge about research on common property resources.  
Information resources available on the home page include Abstracts from the papers presented at the six IASCP annual conferences (1990-1996) and a CPR Virtual Library.  

The electronic library features volumes 1-3 (as well as volume 4, in-progress) of the Common Pool Resources and Collective Action Bibliographies (Martin, 1989, 1992; and Hess, 1996) with over 16,000 citations; full text CPR-related articles; and useful links to other World Wide Web CPR-related resources—including the home page of the Workshop:  

Charlotte Hess  
Workshop Research Library 

The IASCP home page is located at:  



Polycentric Circles is funded by voluntary contributions. An annual donation of $10.00 from those wishing to contribute to the Newsletter Fund would be most appreciated!  

Please make your check payable to: INDIANA UNIVERSITY (designating "Workshop Newsletter Fund") and send it to the attention of Linda Smith at the Workshop.  

Thank you very much.


Seasons Greetings
W e join staff and colleagues here in Bloomington in sending each of you Season's Greetings, best wishes for a stimulating and productive New Year, and an opportunity to renew conversations at the Workshop, or the "Workshop on the Workshop" in June 1999. -Lin and Vincent

Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
Indiana University, 513 North Park
Bloomington, IN 47408-3895 USA
Telephone: (812) 855-0441
FAX: (812) 855-3150

Back to the Workshop Homepage
Copyright 1997, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
Last updated:  September 24, 1997