Environment & Natural Resource Governance

A long tradition examining institutions governing natural resources

Program contact

Associate Professor Jessica Steinberg
Director, Program on Environment & Natural Resource Governance
Associate Professor of International Studies
Adjunct Professor of Political Science

The study of formal and informal institutions that govern natural resources and the environment more broadly has a long history at the Ostrom Workshop. Indeed, Lin Ostrom’s "Governing the Commons" explored the institutional arrangements facilitating the successful self-governance of shared natural resource systems in a wide range of environmental and socio-political contexts. The Program on Environment & Natural Resource Governance (ENRG) at Ostrom Workshop was created in 2016, formalizing this enduring component of the Workshop.  The scholars affiliated with the ENRG Program study a wide range of topics, including property rights, conservation and biodiversity, climate change, urban environmental governance, energy justice, sustainability in fragile and developing states, and comparative regulatory and legal institutions of environmental and natural resource governance. We welcome all methodological approaches to the study of socio-ecological systems. 

 We support and disseminate the work of the ENRG network of scholars, which includes scholars from IU and around the world. At IU, the program draws on faculty from Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Law, Political Science, the School of Global & International Studies, and the School of Public & Environmental Affairs. Globally, our network of affiliates includes faculty from political science, geography, economics, law, anthropology, sociology, and the natural sciences.

More about the Program on Environment & Natural Resource Governance

The Climate Governance working group is a forum to discuss research, curricular, and policy initiatives at IU that are related to climate governance. We hope to bring people together around the topic of climate governance, and through a round table and follow on conversations, to facilitate smaller, more focused working groups to build out specific collaborative projects.

If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Jessica Steinberg.

Equity and justice are increasingly prevalent themes in political, economic, and social discussions about energy and the environment.

As the United States and other nations pursue governance around pollution, climate change, and natural resources, it is an opportune time to explore the variety of theoretical, empirical, and practical approaches scholars are taking to explore the intersection of these issues.

This working group brings scholars of multiple disciplines together to pursue research on questions of equity, access to environmental services, protection from environmental degradation and energy insecurity, and the distributive effects of governance of energy resources and the environment.

If you wish to join this working group, contact Sanya Carley, David Konisky, or Jessica Steinberg.

Water governance had a special place in Elinor Ostrom’s research. This working group aims to continue that research agenda, considering new challenges posed by climate, global socio-economic changes, and different property arrangements on water. From interdisciplinary perspectives, employing field studies and other empirical and theoretical approaches, we explore collective action around different water uses, such as food production, livelihood, and industry. 

The working group holds monthly online meetings and aims to bring together scholars and professionals around water governance.  

The working group is co-hosted by:
Bryan Bruns 
Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka 
Anahi Ocampo 
Lavanya Suresh 

For more information contact 

To join, register to the mailing list. 

Without some knowledge of what would be achieved with alternative institutional arrangements, it is impossible to choose sensibly among them.

Ronald Coase