The Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Memorial Lecture was established in 2015 by Lee Alston, director of the Ostrom Workshop, to honor the memory of the Ostroms.
Ostrom Memorial Lecture
"Rule Breaking and Political Imagination"
by Kenneth Shepsle
APRIL 12, 2017 • 5:00–6:00 p.m.
Indiana Memorial Union, State Room East
(Reception to follow in State Room West)
The third annual Ostrom Memorial Lecture will be presented by Kenneth Shepsle, George Markham Professor of Government, Harvard University.
This lecture is based on a soon-to-appear book of stories about institutions and how they sometimes fail to perform in ways we expect. Institutions have figured prominently in theories of politics of the last half-century. The classic statement of what came to be known as the new institutionalism was articulated by the late Nobel Laureates Douglass North and Elinor Ostrom, summarizing the realization that institutions structure and constrain rational action. As the economic historian Joel Mokyr observed, “Institutions are in a way much like prices in a competitive market: individuals can respond to them differently, but they must take them parametrically and cannot change them.” They channel the choices of individual actors.
But what if they do not? An attempt to answer this question is what I want to talk about. Despite the nominal constraining effects of institutional rules and arrangements, they may be altered by imagination and by transgression. The consequence: constraints need not constrain, ties need not bind. This is what I hope to convince my audience of.
The 2016 Ostrom Memorial Lecture was presented by Professor Gary D. Libecap, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, on February 10, 2016. (See related stories in Policy Briefings IU, InsideIUBloomington, and the Herald-Times.) Held at the IU Maurer School of Law, Professor Libecap's lecture focused on "Environmental Externalities and Coasean Exchange." (Archived live stream)
The inaugural Ostrom Memorial Lecture was presented by Professor Barry Weingast, Ward C. Krebs Family Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, and senior fellow, Hoover Institution, on February 11, 2015. (See related story in InsideIU Bloomington.) Held at the IU Maurer School of Law, Professor Weingast’s lecture focused on “The Violence Trap: Why Democracy and Rule of Law Fail in the Developing World.” (Archived live stream)