Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

Polycentric Circles

Vol. 6   No. 1
December 1999

Co-Directors—Elinor Ostrom and Vincent Ostrom
Co-Associate Directors—Michael McGinnis and James Walker

Newsletter Editor—Esther Mwangi
Newsletter Design—Patty Dalecki


Tracking the IASCP
Vincent & Elinor Ostrom
Back to the future in Somaliland
Wie sagt man “Workshop” auf Deutsch?
Common property in Mozambique 
Upcoming events
A success story 
Visiting scholars
“Plotting” web pages in Kampala
IFRI participants
Recent publications 


Contributors include:

Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul, Charlotte Hess,
and Sujai Shivakumar


Crafting an Organization: The Early History
of IASCP and the Workshop Connection

Next spring the 8th International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP) conference will be held in Bloomington from May 31 to June 4, co-sponsored by the Workshop and the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC). Its theme will be “Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium.” The theme points to the artisanship and institutional design necessary for the successful management of common-pool resources. It also implies that commons are not only very alive but continue to evolve, with new ones being created all the time. It is very much a Workshop theme. Looking back into the history of IASCP and its purpose, it is fitting that the turn of the millennium conference will be held in Bloomington. 

Many threads were woven together in the formation of the IASCP: multiple disciplines, geographical regions, resource sectors, and numerous underlying questions. There are also multiple stories about the history of the organization and the events that led to its formation. Conferences led to networks, collaborations, and books. Donor agencies funded projects that brought international scholars, policymakers, and resource users together. And individual initiatives made valuable contributions to the inception of an organized study of CPRs. 

One might trace the history back to 1968. Not because that was the year Garrett Hardin’s “Tragedy of the Commons” was published in Science. Rather, it was the first year of the devastating drought in the Sahel region of Africa. By the early 70s, alarm was growing at the relentless hunger and disease as well as the environmental degradation of the area. One response was the organization of the Advisory Committee on the Sahel by the National Research Council (NRC) at the request of USAID.  The studies that grew out of the Advisory Committee’s work (1978-1983) pointed to the importance of institutional factors in environmental outcomes. 

As this work was drawing to a close, Jamie Thomson and David Feeny met Meg McKean at a conference on “Deforestation in the Twentieth Century” held at Duke University in April 1983. After the conference, the three met for drinks at the now- legendary restaurant named “Slug’s at the Pines” in Durham. Jamie had written his dissertation at the Workshop and was currently working on deforestation in the Sahel. David brought his expertise on Thai agricultural development, and Meg brought hers on Japanese common lands to the discussion. They speculated over dinner on the possibility that there were lots of people studying how communities managed their scarce resources in common, but that the scholars doing this work were unaware of each other. The question was, how to bring them all together? The three agreed that the vast knowledge they were collecting could be used as the basis for deeper understanding about collective-action problems in general and about managing shared resources in particular. They agreed that a more integrated study of CPRs must be done. That night Jamie wrote up a proposal to build such an endeavor and took it back with him to Washington. He showed his proposal to a fellow Sahel specialist, Jeff Gritzner at the NRC. Gritzner obtained funding for the Panel with the support of Norm Nicholson at USAID, with the proviso that the Panel study the entire developing world, not just the Sahel. 

The time lag between the inspiration and the first Panel meeting was astonishingly short. Within six months, the Panel on Common Property Resource Management was created at the NRC. Members during the intensive planning phase were Jamie, David, and Meg, along with Jere Gilles, Ron Oakerson, Ford Runge, Pauline Peters, and Jeff Gritzner. It didn’t take long for their research to uncover a wealth of knowledge and information. But they recognized that the wide disciplinarity and geographical diversity of the existing studies had hindered the integration and dissemination of this rich body of knowledge. Foremost on the agenda was to organize a conference to bring together an international group of experts on the management of diverse common-pool resources in multiple regions. 

In order to establish a basis for comparison across case studies for all of the conference papers, Ron Oakerson was asked to draft a theoretical framework, drawing on his prior research with Vincent and Lin. Two preparatory workshops preceding the Annapolis event were held in Fall 1984 in order to discuss how to apply the framework to specific cases. At this time the Panel decided to invite two colleagues to chair their panel and deliver keynote addresses for the Annapolis conference—Daniel Bromley and Elinor Ostrom. The conference was, in the words of Meg McKean, “an intensive week‑long meeting that remains among the most intellectually productive ones that any of us there have ever participated in.” 

     One of the outcomes of that conference was the founding of IASCP four years later. In the intervening years since then, the organization has had seven conferences that have grown each time in size and participation (Durham, NC, 1990; Winnipeg, Canada, 1991; Washington, DC, 1992; The Philippines, 1993; Bodoe, Norway, 1995; Berkeley, CA, 1996; and Vancouver, Canada, 1998). And now the eighth will be in Bloomington in 2000. History does come around full circle at times. One set of panels at the forthcoming meeting, designed to provide a synthesis of the field, is organized by another Committee of the National Research Council with NSF funding—the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change. We hope that many of you will be here to attend the stimulating intellectual exchange, along with the many events and field trips. You can obtain more information about the conference itself at the conference


Charlotte Hess 

Author’s note: This has been abstracted from a fuller history of IASCP in progress. Many thanks to David Feeny, Jamie Thomson, Ron Oakerson, and Meg McKean for sharing their time and stories.

Intellectual entrepreneurs in the political sciences

Long, long ago I puzzled over the fact that two political scientists had founded a famed school of economics. I don’t any longer. I found the answer here in Bloomington. The parallel between the intellectual foundation of the London School of Economics—the brainchild of Sidney and Beatrice Webb—and that of the Workshop is close. While the Webbs have written extensively on local governance in Great Britain, the Ostroms have gone beyond this to include institutional analysis as well. Together, they have reiterated the power of an idea when nurtured by multidisciplinary perspectives.

        Only a spirit of complementarity both personal and professional can sustain such inspiring enterprise. We are all familiar with Lin’s dedication in Governing the Commons. She transforms the word “contestation” to acknowledge the support from her partner in life. Vincent reaffirming this, says: “What I think is important is that our work has complemented and reinforced one another in contributing to a larger community of scholarship in the contemporary world. Without Lin’s complementary interests my work would have ground to a halt many years ago.” Together they have striven to perfect an idea they profess, that human relationship is an art and a science of association. In fact, Vincent explains—“The Workshop is very much a joint venture reinforced by a range of good students and visiting scholars who have worked with one or the other of us.”  

The first time I came to know both Lin and Vincent was in the mid-1980s when they wrote to me about the Workshop. At that time even “workshops” were not quite the “in thing” of collective endeavor as they are among academia today. In their letter to me a term they used—“cryptoimperialism”—caught my attention. The word imperialism has a familiar ring to it for us in India. Our politicians have never allowed us to forget our colonial past for, whilst they denounce imperialism, they use similar methods. That was it! Vincent was speaking about politicians in a universal sense. Still later I understood why he so categorically refuses to recognize—THE STATE. I instinctively knew then that I needed to understand what the building blocks of the Workshop were and what motivated its two primary architects or, as they would like to see themselves, Co-ARTISANS.  

As I set about the task of documenting their life-long achievements, the Workshop being just one example, I wonder if anything will come as a surprise? Yet, increasingly I discover new angles to their simple statements. Take, for example, when Vincent says that human experience is one of artisanship engaged in problem solving. Of course it is! And it seems all so obvious. But is it really? Often have I wondered about Vincent’s emphasis on language as the fundamental basis for solving knotty human relationships. If one couples this linguistic perspective with artisanship we then begin to see a glimpse of what the Workshop is all about. I was very encouraged to know that I was on the right track when recently I “discovered” a letter from one of his old students that said, “I took your class at Indiana; I didn’t think much of what you had to say. Today I can say that you were more correct than any other professor at Indiana University whose courses I took.” 

        The true significance of their contributions to theory, to public policy, and to institutions of self-governance in particular, emerges only when one knows that “the artisans” can corroborate every one of their theories by field tests. Vincent comes from the countryside of the Pacific Northwest where water had to be carried in buckets from the stream deep down the hillside every day, and wood had to be chopped for the stove. Lin is a city girl; born during the Depression, she learned to observe the special contingencies of urban life. It is in the light of these experiences that their work has taken shape over the years. . . . And can we really know of their work without their life story? It is with this question in mind that I began conversations with Vincent last year. A biography of this couple has to be very  special, for it needs to reflect their lifetime endeavor to create and nourish the “art and science of association” such that “the mind is without fear and the head is held high.” 

Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul


Somaliland may perhaps be a forgotten corner of the world, but what is going on there is worthy of notice, reports Sujai Shivakumar. With the collapse of centralized governance from Mogadishu and, later, cession by the United Nations, Somalis have begun to draw on their own indigenous traditions in coming to terms with problems of conflict and cooperation. Situated in the northwestern Horn of Africa, Somaliland is home to about three million people, majority of who pursue nomadic pastoralism.

Somaliland, with its capital in Hargeissa, draws it territorial identity from its history as a British protectorate. It was merged with Italian Somalia, whose capital was in Mogadishu, under the aegis of the United Nations in 1960. Given their tradition of clan- based loyalties, however, political associations in the newly-created state immediately developed along clan lines with majority coalitions realized by provoking disputes with other clan groups as a way of forging unity among one’s own.

Clans are broken into units as based on the dia—a system of blood compensation—by which intra-clan disputes are settled. The institution of the dia creates strong ties and internal discipline within each nomadic unit. The northern Somali pastoralists have also developed traditions in covenanting—the xeer—to regulate cooperation and coordination when two or more dia groups are in each other’s vicinity. This fragile political ecology of the northern pastoralist Somali, non-centralized in essence, has been severely disrupted through the imposed ideology of the State. With the fall of the Siad Barre regime in the early 1990s, the tit-for-tat approach of the dia-based security system created an escalation of violence that overshadowed the potentials for peace and cooperation through the use of traditional means of covenanting. At the same time, such capacities for building collective action were neglected. 

Even so, the elders of various clan groups in the northern Horn recognized a need for reconciliation and peace. What ensued were a series of peace conferences that yielded commonly agreed-to principles for peace, restitution, and reconciliation.  

The British nongovernmental organization, ActionAid, has nurtured this process of institutional renewal. Sam Joseph, its director, guided in great part by his intuition, along with an inspired application of Lin Ostrom’s eight principles characterizing long-standing institutions of self-governance of common-pool resources, has encouraged clan members in the province of Sanaag to draw up covenants among members of once rival clan groups as a prelude to rebuilding water points and other needed shared assets. Such covenants have been extended from the traditions of the xeer

Sujai was invited by Sam last June to visit Somaliland to evaluate ActionAid’s efforts at institution building. While there, Sujai also conducted a week-long seminar—for an assembly combining members of Sanaag with members of parliament and heads of various ministries—on principles of constitutional design, polycentric governance, and institutional development. Based on the interest generated in Hargeissa, this seminar was repeated again this July. He has been invited back by the chairman of the Somaliland parliament to repeat this seminar for its membership. 

“I see my efforts in holding these seminars, not so much as getting the elite of Hargeissa to become libertarians in the course of a week, as in creating among them a tolerance for, and understanding of the real bottom-up constitution-building activity that ActionAid is engaged in. Still, for someone who claims some qualification in the field of Constitutional Political Economy, this is indeed an exciting place to be.” 

Sujai has recently returned from the All-Africa Conference on African Principles of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His presentation generated much discussion on the role of institutional analysis in bringing the elite of Africa to terms with their own indigenous traditions, and with the need for formal legal mechanisms to resonate the due processes implied in indigenous systems. 

Wie sagt man “Workshop” 
auf Deutsch? 

Among the Workshop Library’s visitors last year was Dr. Michael Brie from the Rosa Luxemburg Bundesstiftung (Foundation) in Berlin, Germany. Impressed with the innovative system of the library, Bries invited the Workshop Librarian, Charlotte Hess, to Berlin to consult on planning and implementing an information center for the Foundation. Hess met with researchers, information specialists, and members of the Foundation in Berlin and Leipzig from September 27-October 5, 1999. She gave a presentation on creative strategies to build a special library in Berlin. 

The Rosa Luxemburg Bundesstiftung is supported by the Democratic Socialist party of Germany for the purpose of building political education and social analysis. The Foundation has branches in 13 cities in Germany. The next step may be for the information specialists from the Foundation to travel to Bloomington early in 2000 to train at the Workshop.


Following the tradition of international collaboration, networking, and knowledge sharing, six IASCP representatives were invited to participate in the Workshop and Conference on Common Property Theory in Zonguene, Mozambique, July 20-24, 1999. Charlotte Hess, Bonnie McCay, and Louise Fortmann from the U.S., Antonio Diegues, Brazil, and Fikret Berkes, Canada, took part in the event with 40 resource managers, policymakers, and researchers throughout Mozambique. The event was sponsored by the Center for Forestry Research in Maputo and funded by the Ford Foundation. 

The objective of the workshop/conference was to introduce more broadly in Mozambique common property theory and its application in the areas of forestry, wildlife, and fisheries. Members of the Center for Forestry Research (CEF) felt that bringing IASCP to Mozambique would assist a wide range of policy formulation and program implementation activities. The participating Mozambicans also hoped that this interchange would strengthen the understanding of the outside world of their situation, as well as their challenges and achievements. The Ford Foundation funded the event. Ken Wilson, Program Director for Southern Africa for Ford, served as primary mentor, consultant, liaison, and translator for the group. 

Descriptions of the workshop, conference, and field trips, along with over 140 photos are posted on the IASCP Web Homepage at:  



In December 1999, Arun Agrawal, George Varughese and Gautam Yadama will conduct a two-week intensive IFRI training workshop in Nepal. The workshop is focused on researchers interested in carrying out and organizing IFRI studies in the field. As a result the workshop is practically oriented, and will introduce students to the IFRI methods, the rationale and assumption behind them, and how to use these methods in the field.


In May 2000, the International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) network of Collaborating Research Centers (CRCs) will meet in Bloomington in the days before the start of the 2000 Meetings of the International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP). IFRI researchers from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America will present their new findings and discuss their future research plans.  


The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) announces a conference titled “People and Nature: Operationalizing Ecological Economics,” 5-8 July, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. The conference will focus on operational applications and achievements of ecological economics. It will integrate major conceptual challenges and practical problems, while exploring new ideas.  More details can be found at the conference web page: 


The Women Studies Program of Indiana University announces the Third International Conference on Women in Africa and the African Diaspora. The conference theme is: Facing the New Millennium: Gender in Africa and the African Diaspora—Retrospection and Prospects. The conference will be held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, October 8-17, 2000. Details can be found at (click on “Action Alert or WAAD Conference”) 


is funded by voluntary contributions. An annual donation (tax deductible) of $10.00 from those wishing to contribute to the Newsletter Fund would be most appreciated. Please make checks payable to: Indiana University Foundation (designate “Workshop Newsletter Fund”); send to Linda Smith, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, IU, 513 North Park, Bloomington, IN 47408-3895 USA. Thank you for your support! 


Vincent Ostrom’s The Political Theory of a Compound Republic: Designing the American Experiment now has a web page all to itself . . . and it is in Chinese! What is more exciting is that it was the 7th best-selling Chinese book in the Allsages Bookstore in Beijing at the end of August and early September this year. For more information, see 


NIVES DOLSAK—who successfully defended her dissertation in December. Nives’ dissertation is entitled “Marketable Permits: Managing Local, Regional and Global Commons.”  

ELINOR OSTROM—for being the first woman to receive the Johan Skytte prize from Uppsala University in Sweden. The prize of $50,000, presented on October 2, 1999, was awarded for her “profound empirical, as well as theoretical, analysis of the nature of collective action and rational choice.” Lin has donated the prize to create an Elinor Ostrom/Johan Skytte graduate fellowship to be awarded each year by the Workshop. 

MARGARET POLSKI—on the successful defense of her dissertation in November. Margaret’s dissertation is entitled “Institutional Evolution and Change: Interstate Banking Reform in the United States.” 

You go girls!


Susan Baer, a Ph.D. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park, will be spending the 1999-2000 academic year at the Workshop. Her area of research interest is urban politics and metropolitan governance. She is currently researching on polycentricity and metropolitan governance, and working on a paper titled “The Sub-Districting of Cities: Applying the Polycentric Model.” 

Juan-Camilo Cardenas is a faculty member at the “Facultdad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales, Universidad Javeriana,” Colombia. He is interested in studying cooperation dilemmas in local commons. His current research is based on field experimental economics and other field methods for valuing natural resources in rural communities. He is currently finishing his doctoral degree in Environmental Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and will be visiting the Workshop for the 1999/2000 academic year. 

Dwarika Nath Dhungel, a career civil servant, had his last assignment as a Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources in Nepal. Prior to coming to the Workshop, he was a freelance consultant affiliated to the School of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development of Pokhara University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is currently working on a monograph on the decentralization and self-governance program in Nepal.  

Rucha Ghate, from the Department of Economics, Nagpur University, India, is at the Workshop on an “overseas post-doctoral fellowship in environmental economics” under the World Bank-aided Environment Capacity Building Project. Rucha is researching the relevance of the gender dimensions of changing institutional arrangements in the management of common property resources, especially forests. She will be at the Workshop until June 2000. 

Minoti Chakravarty-Kaul is a visiting chair for research in institutions and economic development, and will be spending a larger part of her time writing about Lin and Vincent’s efforts in building the Workshop. Minoti will use her remaining time to finish up writing two books: one on the enduring debate, that began in the second half of the 19th century, on recognizing the community as a source of institutions for governing land and other natural resources. The other book discusses the historical background of customary law and pastoralists. Minoti will spend one year at the Workshop. 


The Workshop, in collaboration with African Studies (Indiana University), and Makerere University, with funding from the Ford Foundation, this past year initiated the development of a web site aimed at facilitating research and exchange between scholars in Africa and those in the U.S. The web site provides information on indigenous knowledge and environmental management in Africa, and links to other relevant web sites and institutions in Africa and elsewhere. It also provides a summary of data collected and reports written on IFRI sites in Uganda. This past summer, Esther Mwangi, who has been involved in the development of this web site, spent time showing personnel (Dan Ssentomero, Chris Sebandeke, and Richard Kibombo) of the Faculty of Forestry at Makerere University how to design and maintain a web page. The page, now published in Uganda, can be accessed at the following address:



Goodluck Fue is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro in Tanzania. He is also the Database Manager for IFRIs Tanzanian CRC. 

Mariana Hernandez, a research assistant at the Univeriadad Autonoma de Mexico, is involved in IFRI research that is evaluating the condition of the habitat of the Monarch Butterfly, a species of conservation importance, in the Reserva Especial de la Biosfera de la Mariposa Monarca. Mariana is also involved in the study of the ecology and management of rare orchids and bromeliads in Mexico. 

Leticia Merino, of the Univeriadad Autonoma de Mexico, is involved in using IFRI methods to understand how local community institutions affect forest management in three forest areas in Mexico.  

Jane Njuguna is a senior research officer at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, KEFRI. KEFRI houses the IFRI CRC in Kenya. Jane also manages the CRCs database. She is interested in incorporating a gender perspective into the IFRI research program in Kenya. Jane’s most current study involves experimenting with fuel-efficient cooking stoves with rural women living in close proximity to urban areas in Kenya. 

Peggy Smith is a Registered Professional Forester from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, who has worked in policy development for the past eight years with the National Aboriginal Forestry Association ( NAFAs goal is to increase the participation of Aboriginal peoples in forest management. Peggy is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto examining the basis for co-operation among Aboriginal peoples, the state, environmental nongovernmental organizations and forest companies on forest management in northwestern Ontario. 

Edward Webb is an assistant professor of natural resources management at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. He teaches forestry, ecology, and research design classes. His research interests are community forestry and also mechanisms that maintain tropical biodiversity. 

NOTE: Juan Camilo-Cardenas and Rucha Ghate, Workshop Visiting Scholars (see page 5), also participated in the IFRI program.

Health Update...

Vincent Ostrom’s back surgery on October 7, 1999, was very successful. Six screws and three reconstructed vertebrae are being fused into one. The healing process is slow, but good progress is being made. The old piercing pains have disappeared.

Thanks to all of you for your good wishes!


Tocqueville Endowment


30 SEPT '98

30 SEPT '99



(Thousands of dollars)

(Thousands of dollars)


Market Value




Estimated Income




Market Value Gain (loss)




Income Gain (loss)








Elinor Ostrom, Workshop, “Context and Collective Action: Four Building Blocks for Interactive Family of Explanatory Theories,” 9/6/99. 

Yujiro Hayami, International Economics at Aoyama-Gakuin University, Tokyo, “The Conditions of Collective Action for Local Commons Management: The Case of Irrigation in the Philippines,” 9/13/99. 

T. Manoharan, Copenhagen, Denmark, “Common Property in China: Towards an Overall Analytical Framework,” 9/20/99. 

Claudia Keser, Karlsruhe University, Germany, “Conventions and Local Interaction Structures: Experimental Evidence,” 9/27/99. 

John W. Maxwell & Thomas P. Lyon, Dept. of Business Economics and Public Policy, IU, “What Caused U.S. Voluntary Environmental Agreements?,” 10/4/99. 

Philip Powell, Dept. of Business Economics and Public Policy, IUPUI, “Property Rights and Voluntary Social Arrangements,” 10/11/99. 

Edna Loehman, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and Eythan Weg, Dept. of Psychology, IU, “Cooperation in a Hydro-Geologic Commons: Application of Game Theory and Economics to Institutional Design in the Middle East,” 10/18/99. 

John Witte, Robert M. La Follette Institute of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Outcomes of America’s First Voucher Program,” 10/25/99. 

Itai Sened, Department of Political Science, Washington University, St. Louis, “Revisiting the Concept of ‘The SocialContract’,” 10/29/99. 

R. Maria Saleth, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India, “Evaluating Water Institutions and Water Sector Performance,” 11/1/99.  

Patrick Brandt, Dept. of Political Science, IU, “Specifying and Testing Models of Congressional-Executive Relations,” 11/8/99. 

Robert Stein, School of Social Sciences, Rice University, Houston, TX, “Contextual Data and the Study of Elections and Voting Behavior: Connecting Individuals to Environments,” 11/15/99. 

Roberta Herzberg, Dept. of Political Science, Utah State University, “Rising Out of the Ashes: A New Approach to Managing Health Care Financing,” 11/22/99. 

Juan-Camilo Cardenas, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Visiting Scholar, Workshop, “Real Wealth and Experimental Cooperation: Evidence from Field Experiments,” 11/29/99. 

Charlotte Hess, Director of Library and Information Services, Workshop, “The Common Property Theory Workshop and Conference in Mozambique: An International Collaborative Experiment in Knowledge and Information Exchange,” 12/6/99.



James Alt, Margaret Levi, and Elinor Ostrom, eds. 1999. Competition & Cooperation: Conversations with Nobelists about Economics and Political Science. New York: Russell Sage.

ISBN 0-87154-010-X 

What can the disciplines of political science and economics learn from one another? This volume features six path-breaking scholars, all winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics, in a series of conversations with more than a dozen distinguished political scientists. The discussions analyze, adapt, and extend the Nobelists’ seminal work, showing how it has carried over into political science and paved the way for fruitful cooperation between the two disciplines. The exchanges span all of the major conceptual legacies of the Nobel laureates. The Nobel economists have had a profound impact upon political science, but, in addressing political questions, they have also had to rethink many settled assumptions of economics. The reconsideration of rationality and the role of institutions, in economics as in politics, raises the possibility of a shared approach to individual choice and institutional behavior that might bring a new unity to the social sciences. Competition & Cooperation demonstrates that the most important work in both economics and political science reflects a marriage of the two disciplines. 

Ronald J. Oakerson. 1999. Governing Local Public Economies: Creating the Civic Metropolis. Oakland: ICS Press.  

ISBN 1-55815-512-0 

Oakerson outlines a framework for the study of metropolitan organization. The framework addresses the variety of provision, production, and government problems that occur in the metropolitan context. Implicit in the framework is a conception of the metropolis as a civic creation. Drawing heavily from the rich tradition of America’s local self-government, Oakerson argues that it is more productive to view urban areas as local public economies, instead of regarding metropolitan areas as fragmented systems in need of organization and integration. The book emphasizes the importance of governance to the creation of the civic metropolis. Governance comes before service provision. Along with re-building a dynamic citizenship, ensuring a strong citizen role in governance is absolutely necessary to repairing the tattered civic fabric of our metropolitan communities. This book will be particularly valuable in teaching students how to think analytically about the structure of metropolitan areas and how to evaluate performance. 


Auer, Matthew R. 1998. “Agency Reform as Decision Process: The Reengineering of the Agency for International Development.” Policy Sciences 31:81-105. 

Duany, Wal, and Julia Duany. 1999. “Genesis of the Crisis in the Sudan.” In White Nile, Black Blood, ed. Jay Spaulding and Stephanie Beswick, 167-82. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea Press. 

McGinnis, Michael D. 1999. “Rent-Seeking, Redistribution, and Reform in the Governance of Global Markets.” In Globalization and Governance, ed. Aseem Prakash and Jeffrey A. Hart, 54-76. New York: Routledge. 

Ostrom, Elinor. 1999. “Social Capital: A Fad or a Fundamental Concept?” In Social Capital: A Multifaceted Perspective, ed. Partha Dasgupta and Ismail Seraeldin, 172-214. Washington, DC: The World Bank.  

Ostrom, Elinor. 1999. “Institutional Rational Choice: An Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework.” In Theories of the Policy Process, ed. Paul A. Sabatier, 35-71. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 

Ostrom, Vincent. 1999. “Taking Constitutions Seriously: Buchanan’s Challenge to Twentieth-Century Political Science.” In Competition & Cooperation, ed. James E. Alt, Margaret Levi, and Elinor Ostrom, 123-36. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

In the Final Stages: 

Joanna Burger, Richard Norgaard, Elinor Ostrom, David Policansky, and Bernard Goldstein, eds. The Commons Revisited: An Americas Perspective. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. 

This volume grew out of discussions generated by a symposium: “The commons revisited: An Americas perspective,” held at the 10th General Assembly of SCOPE in June 1998. The volume examines a variety of common-pool resources as they apply to the Western Hemisphere with the goal of providing a range of examples: from successful ones, to others where solutions are still in their infancy. The beginning of the new millenium is an appropriate time to evaluate our performance. 

Robert Costanza, Bobbi S. Low, Elinor Ostrom, and James Wilson, eds. Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability. New York: CRC Press. 

This book represents an attempt, by scholars in diverse disciplines, to cross boundaries and create a common framework that will encourage productive dialogue and synthesis across a broad range of disciplines and approaches. Creating this framework for linking human institutions and ecosystems is, the authors think, a prerequisite for further progress. They develop multiscale conceptual and mathematical models that include a range of ecosystem and human system characteristics for testing hypotheses, and to provide guidance for designing sustainable human systems within sustainable ecosystems. 

Ganesh P. Shivakoti and Elinor Ostrom, eds. Improving Irrigation Governance and Management in Nepal. Oakland, CA: ICS Press. 

This edited volume addresses the question of how institutions, together with various physical and socioeconomic variables, affect the performance of irrigation systems in Nepal. The study grows out of the work of the Panel on Common Property Resources at the National Academy of Sciences undertaken in the mid-1980s. The nine chapters of this volume, contributed by different authors, all share the common theme of how to improve governance and management of irrigation systems without eroding the established institutional patterns of interaction among and between the users and government officials.


As we usher in the new millennium, we at the Workshop would like to wish you all the joys of this beautiful season! We also wish you peace and prosperity in the next year and an opportunity to renew conversations at the Workshop.


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March 14, 2000