Colloquia during Fall 2012


  • 10-26-12: Was Tocqueville Ever American?

    Presented by Olivier Zunz, Commonwealth Professor of History, University of Virginia, Charlottsville; co-sponsors: Tocqueville, Center for Philantropy, and Ostrom Workshop

Monday, August 27, 2012




Chaired by Burney Fischer, Ostrom Workshop Co-Director and Clinical Professor in SPEA, IUB, and Tom Evans, Ostrom Workshop Co-Director and Associate Professor, Department of Geography, IUB


Summary: The Roundtable session will be an opportunity for our colleagues and students to become acquainted with this year's Workshop Visiting Scholars, including the research they will be conducting while in residence this year.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012




Presented by Ajay K. Mehrotra, Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Law, and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow; Adjunct Associate Professor of History, IUB


Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, the U.S. system of public finance underwent a dramatic transformation. The late nineteenth-century system of indirect national taxes, associated with the tariff and regressive excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, was eclipsed in the early decades of the twentieth century by a progressive income tax that soon accounted for more than half of all federal tax revenues. A similar, albeit much less pronounced, shift occurred at the state and local level where the income tax soon challenged the dominant reliance on property taxes. This book project seeks to provide a comprehensive history of how and why this transformation came to be.

BIO: Ajay Mehrotra teaches law and history at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University – Bloomington. His research and teaching focus on taxation and the history of American law and political economy.


Monday, September 10, 2012



Presented by Mark Lubell, Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy and Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior


Abstract: Policy outcomes in all but the simplest policy systems emerge from a complex of ecology of games featuring multiple actors, governance institutions, and issues, and not just single institutions operating in isolation. This paper updates Long's (1958) ecology of games framework with Scharpf's (1997) actor-centered institutionalism to analyze the coordinating roles of actors and institutions on the context of the ecology of water management games in the San Francisco Bay. Actors participating in multiple institutions are analyzed using exponential random graph models for bipartite networks representing different assumptions about policy behavior, including geographic constraints. We find that policy coordination is facilitated mostly by Federal and state agencies, and collaborative institutions that span across geographic boundaries. Network configurations associated with closure show the most significant departures from the predicted model values, consistent with the Berardo and Scholz (2010) "risk hypothesis" that closure is important for solving cooperation problems.

BIO: Mark Lubell studies collective-action problems in theory, lab, and field settings using quantitative and qualitative empirical methods. Collective-action problems occur when individuals make self-interested decisions that produce socially undesirable outcomes. In environmental studies, perhaps the most famous collective-action problem is the Tragedy of the Commons as described by Garrett Hardin in 1968. Hardin describes how collective action problems are involved with environmental issues like overpopulation, destruction of rangeland, and water pollution. Lubell views collective-action problems as the cause of many environmental conflicts, and therefore environmental policy is an excellent research setting to study central theoretical issues. His current research topics include watershed management, environmental behavior, sustainable agricultural decision-making, multi-generational public goods experiments, and agent-based models of cooperation. Each of these situations represents a different type of collective action problem. These situations also feature many phenomena of central interest to most social sciences, such as the role of institutions, environmental behavior, and policy implementation. Following a natural science model of scientific inquiry, Lubell’s long-term research agenda is to discover common principles of collective action that can be observed and tested in all three modes of research: theory, experiment, and field. Lubell has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and US Department of Agriculture, and publishes in political science, public administration, and environmental sciences journals.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012




Presented by Keith Taylor, visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop


Abstract: Proponents of wind energy often point to economic development outcomes as justification for the current government policy subsidizing development. Yet public policy privileges investor-ownership while excluding the 900+ electric cooperatives from comparable incentives. This presentation analyzes two community cases: a community hosting an investor-owned wind farm, and another community hosting one of the nation's only cooperative-owned wind farms. Does the structure of the wind energy firm determine community development outcomes, and if so, why? Findings indicate material benefits of wind energy development to be relatively similar in both case studies, but the cooperative case appears to exhibit a number of important community development differences not likely to be found amongst investor-owned wind energy firms. This raises questions as to the optimal policy prescriptions for the advancement of wind energy development in the context of U.S. rural community and energy development policy.

BIO: Keith Taylor (academic year) is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois in the Department of Human and Community Development (PhD expected Fall 2012). Keith’s research emphasis is on the utilization of the cooperative institutional model for community development and democratization. His recent research project has explored the effect wind energy ownership models on local level communities, and how communities might harness such projects for enhancing development outcomes. Keith's efforts at the Ostrom Workshop are focused on plying Bloomington School thinking toward the creation of a coordinated research agenda on the US cooperative model.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Monday, September 17, 2012




Presented by Frank Page, Professor of Economics, IUB


Abstract: My work on endogenous network dynamics is about formulating a dynamic network formation game as a dynamic stochastic game. The objective, stated loosely, is to bring to bear strategic considerations on the evolution of economic and social network structures. This is joint work with Joana Resende, University of Porto, Portugal.


BIO: Professor Page’s current research interests lie in two areas: (1) strategic network formation and (2) competitive nonlinear pricing games. In the area of strategic network formation, his current work focuses on the emergence of stochastic network dynamics from strategic behavior and stochastic elements in nature. In the area of competitive nonlinear pricing games, his current work focuses on the Nash existence problem in such games. Professor Page has published in Econometrica, the Journal of Economic TheoryEconomic Theory, the Journal of Mathematical Economics, the International Journal of Game Theory, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the Journal of Public Economic Theory, the Annals of Finance, the Journal of Economic Behavior and OrganizationCanadian Mathematical Bulletin, Journal of Global Optimization, Optimization, Review of Economic Design, Social Choice and Welfare, Mathematical Social Sciences, and Economic Letters. Professor Page is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Public Economic Theory, theAnnals of Finance, and Economics Bulletin. He is regularly Visiting Professor at the University of Paris 1 (Pantheon-Sorbonne) and he has twice (1996 and 2006) been the organizer of the NSF/NBER Decentralization Conference. He is Vice President of the Association for Public Economic Theory.


Monday, September 17, 2012




Presented by Patrick Deneen, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Notre Dame, and Frank Potenziani Chair of Constitutional Studies


Abstract: At the time of the Constitution’s ratification, the party of “conservatism” – the so-called Anti-federalists – opposed the Constitution for, among other reasons, what they perceived to be its tendency toward the consolidation of centralized power, the oligarchic rule of distant and wealthy elites over ordinary citizens, and a trajectory toward a form of “globalization” and a corresponding hostility toward local forms of life. By contrast, today the Constitution is invoked by many contemporary conservatives as a bulwark against these tendencies. Can it be that the original conservatives were correct, and that contemporary conservatives are defending an organization of government that results in many of the outcomes that they claim to oppose?


BIO: I hold a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political science from Rutgers University. From 1995-1997 I was Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency. From 1997-2005 I was Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton University. From 2005-2012 I was Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of Notre Dame in Fall, 2012. I am the author and editor of several books and numerous articles and reviews, and have delivered invited lectures around the country and several foreign nations. Published books include: The Odyssey of Political Theory, 2000 (Rowman and Littlefield) Democratic Faith, 2005 (Princeton) Democracy's Literature (ed.), 2005 (Rowman and Littlefield) The Democratic Soul (ed.), 2011 (University Press of Kentucky) Redeeming Democracy in America (ed.), 2011 (University Press of Kansas).

There will be no paper for this presentation.

Co-sponsors:Tocqueville, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware, and Ostrom Workshop

Wednesday, September 19, 2012




Presented by Graham Epstein, a student in the joint PhD program in Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science


Abstract:The SES framework promises to provide the architectural foundation for the next generation of interdisciplinary studies of these complex systems. However, its origin in institutional studies of the commons belies its interdisciplinary ambitions. A working group convened at the Ostrom Workshop has undertaken a variety of projects to test and refine the framework to foster interdisciplinary collaboration towards the ultimate goal of understanding the set and configuration of factors that contribute to the sustainability or collapse of SESs. This presentation highlights the interdisciplinary and methodological limitations of the framework and proposes potential solutions. Your comments and critiques of the content and delivery of the presentation are appreciated and will be used to refine the presentation for a conference in early October.

BIO: Graham Epstein is a student in the joint PhD program in Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. His primary research interest is rule compliance in the commons and the interaction of multiple models of human behavior and contextual variables in complex social-ecological systems. He is interested in applying a multiple method approach to develop an improved understanding of behavior and outcomes in the commons. Graham holds a BSc in Ecology from the University of Waterloo and an MSc in International Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Monday, September 24, 2012



Presented by Lloyd Orr, Professor Emeritus, Economics, IU

Abstract: This paper is a response to my experience with the pre-conference curriculum, and presentations at the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregation’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Their strong support and endorsement of illegal immigrants in Arizona and elsewhere implicitly and sometimes explicitly endorsed a very open immigration policy. I employ Scott Gordon’s Welfare, Justice, and Freedom thesis of conflict and tradeoffs among social goals to critique this position. Ecological and income distribution issues that are important to UU’s would likely be seriously compromised by their implicit/explicit positions on immigration. The three page paper is linked below.

I would appreciate the contribution of those who may be familiar with the “Doctrine of Discovery,” a 15th-century papal pronouncement that heavily influenced the development of law relating to colonization and the treatment of indigenous peoples.

BIO: Professor Emeritus, Economics, IU. The last 25 years of my career were devoted to public sector issues – environment, risk and safety, and welfare transfers. After retirement I contributed to, and co-edited with Bob Bent (Physics) and Randall Baker (SPEA),Energy: Science, Policy, and the Pursuit of Sustainability.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012




Presented by Gabriela Landolt, doctoral student in Social Anthropology at the Universität Bern Institut für Sozialanthropologie and short-term visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop; paper being presented is being written in conjunction with Tobias Haller, an associate professor at the Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland.

Abstract: The goal to protect and sustainably manage alpine summer pastures is stated in the Swiss state law since 1996 and direct subsidy payments from the state for summer pasturing have been bound to sustainability criteria since 2000 reflecting the increasing value of the alpine cultural landscape as a public good. However, the provision of the public good remains in the hands of the local farmers and their local common pool resource (CPR) institutions to manage the alpine pastures and those institutions increasingly struggle with upholding their institutional arrangements particularly regarding the communal work, called Gemeinwerk, necessary to maintain the pastures. This paper examines two case studies of local CPR institutions to manage alpine pastures in the canton Graubünden of Switzerland manifesting different institutional developments in the light of changing conditions. Explanations for the unequal reactions to change and their impacts on the provision of the CPR are provided by focusing on relative prices, bargaining power and ideology as drivers of institutional change often neglected within common property research.

BIO: Gabriela Landolt is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. She is analyzing common-property pastures in the Swiss Alps following the evolution of the common property institutions and their transformation over time. The comparison of two alpine communities based on ethnographic research, shall reveal factors relevant to explain the different developments in the two communes. Elinor Ostrom’s design principles (1990, 2010) are applied to evaluate the robustness of the common property institutions at a certain point of time combined with Jean Ensminger’s model of institutional change (1992) to historically follow institutional change providing the context for explaining sustainable or unsustainable outcomes. At the workshop, Gabriela plans to exchange ideas about the compatibility of the SES-IAD framework with anthropological research, advantages of other models such as the one by Jean Ensminger, and about the relevance of history. Her objective is to be able to critically discuss the theoretical approach chosen, on the background of the knowledge gathered and the experiences made by the workshop’s scientists.


Monday, October 1, 2012




Presented by Brett Frischmann, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and Katherine Strandburg, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law


Abstract: Frischmann and Strandburg will jointly present their Constructed Commons in the Cultural Environment project, which includes the development of a framework for studying commons in the cultural environment that builds from and adapts the IAD framework to better fit the cultural environment context. In addition to discussing their framework and their multidisciplinary, collaborative research project, Frischmann and Strandburg will discuss their case study on the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network as a Nested Commons.

BIO: Professor Frischmann is a Professor of Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where he teaches intellectual property and Internet law. He is currently the Director of Cardozo's IP and Information Law Program. He is also an Affiliate Scholar of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, and blogs at He received a BA in Astrophysics from Columbia University, an MS in Earth Resources Engineering from Columbia University, and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center. After clerking for the Honorable Fred I. Parker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practicing at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, DC. he joined the Loyola University, Chicago law faculty in 2002. His recent book, Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources (Oxford University Press 2012), develops an economic framework for analyzing infrastructure commons. For more information, see

Katherine Strandburg concentrates her teaching and research in the areas of intellectual property law, cyberlaw, and information privacy law. She is particularly interested in understanding how the law in these areas might accommodate and reflect the importance of collaborative and emergent collective behavior. Prior to coming to NYU, Prof. Strandburg was Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law. She has been a visiting professor at NYU, Fordham, and Illinois law schools. Professor Strandburg obtained her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School with high honors in 1995 and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard D. Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She is an experienced litigator, is licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and recently has authored several amicus briefs to the Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals dealing with patent law issues. She is past Chair of the AALS Section on Intellectual Property. Prior to her legal career, Professor Strandburg was a research physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, having received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1984 and conducted postdoctoral research at Carnegie Mellon. She was a visiting faculty member of the physics department at Northwestern University from 1990-1992.  

Links to previously published work on this project on Frishmann's website --

Constructing Commons in the Cultural Environment, Michael J. Madison, Brett M. Frischmann & Katherine J. Strandburg

Wednesday, October 3, 2012




Presented by Jampel Dell'Angelo, visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop


Abstract: This case study focusses on the environmental governance dynamics of the Sanjiuangyuan area in the Tibetan Rangelands in Qinghai and its consequences on the nomadic population. This particular area of the Tibetan-Qinghai plateau contains the watersheds of three of the most important rivers of Asia: the Yellow, the Yangtze and Mekong rivers. Official media report that as a response to the persistence of drought-flood phenomena of these rivers, PRC's Central Government has implemented major policy measures and allocated substantial funding. One of the crucial aspects of these environmental policies is the objective to resettle and sedentarize the nomadic population. Therefore, Tibetan nomads’ life style, mobility patterns, production system, institutional arrangements and metabolic patterns are going through a dramatic change. In this research I apply the IAD, integrating Institutional Analysis, Political Ecology and Societal Metabolism bodies of scholarship, in order to investigate and explain this complex issue. 

BIO: Jampel Dell'Angelo (academic year) is enrolled in a double PhD program in International Cooperation and Sustainable Development at Sapienza Università di Roma-CIRPS and in Environmental Sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona-ICTA. He holds a MS in Environment and Development at the London School of Economics, a Master II in Energy and Environment Management at Università di Roma La Sapienza, a Graduate Certificate in International Health at Curtin University of Technology, and a BS in Environmental Economics at Università degli Studi di Siena. In his PhD research, Jampel applies, and modifies, the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to two different case studies: (1) watersheds preservation and resettlement of Tibetan nomads in Qinghai’s rangelands and (2) the decision-making processes of geothermal electric energy power production development and its effects on the water basin of Mount Amiata in central Italy. The principal aim of his visit at the Ostrom Workshop is to develop a deeper understanding of the IAD framework, explore the possibility of methodological variations, and apply this to his case studies.


Friday, October 5, 2012




Presented by Tracy Strong, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego


Abstract: Please see paper, below

BIO: Strong has broad interests in political theory and in related fields in political science, aesthetics, literature and other areas. He is the author of several books including Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration (currently in its third edition); The Idea of Political Theory: Reflections on the Self in Political Time and Space; and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Politics of the Ordinary (second edition), as well as the editor or co-editor of Nietzsche’s New Seas, The Self and the Political Order, Public Space and Democracy, and The One and the Many. Ethical Pluralism in Contemporary Perspectives. He has written numerous articles and essays in a variety of journals. He is currently working on a book on aesthetics and politics in the early twentieth century; on a series of essays which read figures in the political theory canon as participant in contemporary concerns; and on music, language, and politics in the period that extends from Rousseau to Nietzsche. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the national endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation, has been Visiting Professor at the Juan March Instituto in Spain and Warwick University in England, and was a Fellow at the Center for Human Values, Princeton University (2002-03). From 1990 until 2000 he was Editor of Political Theory.


Co-sponsors: Tocqueville Program, Department of Political Science, and Center for the Theoretical Inquiry in Humanities

Monday, October 8, 2012




Presented by Travis Selmier III, PhD candidate, Department of Political Science, IUB


Abstract: Why are there many club goods, and club good market structures, in investment finance? Why has there been such a proliferation of these types of goods and transaction structures in modern finance? The answers lie in the motivations and methods of financial firms to segment, package and offset risk and to increase profit potential.

This paper presents a theoretical argument to explain why, and how, financial products may migrate toward a clubs good nature. I employ a goods typology matrix developed by the Ostroms and refined by McNutt. I introduce the concept of transmutation in which investment banks employ technology and developments in theoretical finance to package financial goods into new financial products whose resultant property rights shift their good type in the typology matrix. Financial firms are active agents in this process through innovation, commonly called financial engineering. After examining listed shares through this lens of goods typology, I track the concurrent development, over the last half-century, of mortgage-backed securities and of financial “engineering”—the application of advanced mathematical techniques to develop new financial products.

Financial firms are self-designing organizations whose organizational fluidity and capacity to financially engineer not only permits, but encourages and rewards, the design and redesign of financial goods. Property rights structures may change as a result, shifting along either or both dimensions of the financial goods typology. Understanding the clubs goods nature of financial goods, and this dynamic process of transmutation, is of critical importance to good governance.

BIO: I am a Ph.D. candidate with interests in International Political Economy, East Asia and Latin America, banking politics, economic diplomacy, and the nexus where international politics, economics, business and finance meet. My outside minor is in Business Economics. My research interests drive off my academic background and my past work experience in international equity investments. I am a bit of a polyglot, speaking Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese and bits of 8 other languages, as well as a traveler, having been to nearly 60 countries (mostly for investment research). When not reading, working on a language or a computer, I like to design and build furniture, cook, cycle and rock-climb, and read history, economics, art criticism and poetry.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012




Presented by the Integrating Ecological Perspectives with the Social-Ecological Systems Framework working group at the Ostrom Workshop; Graham Epstein speaking, presentation based largely on work completed by Jessica Vogt and Sarah Mincey


Abstract: The social-ecological systems (SES) framework purports to offer an interdisciplinary tool for scholarly studies of SESs. However, its origin in institutional studies of the commons belies its interdisciplinary ambitions and ability to cope with ecological complexity. This paper proposes to narrow the gap between ecology and the framework by explicitly recognizing that outcomes in these systems are co-produced by social systems in which choices are made, and ecological systems that govern the effect of choices and natural interactions. The paper applies the two-step process to explain changes in the species composition in a southern Indiana forest, and further elaborates the ecological components of the SES framework. It aims to spur interest in further development of the framework across disciplines in pursuit of a truly interdisciplinary framework for the study of coupled SESs.

WORKING GROUP DESCRIPTION: This working group focuses on integrating ecological perspectives with the social-ecological systems (SES) framework developed by Elinor Ostrom. The SES framework underlies an ambitious research agenda that adopts a diagnostic approach to investigate the relationship between a large number of potentially relevant variables and outcomes in the commons. This research agenda further proposes to break down disciplinary boundaries by providing scholars with a shared tool for studies of the commons. While the framework has taken steps from its institutional analysis origin to incorporate insights from ecology, gaps remain that may limit adoption by ecologists. The goal of this group will be to construct a working paper that identifies these gaps and proposes possible changes to the framework. As a starting point we will look at the models that ecologists and hydrologists use to examine these systems, and the variables that are used to construct these models. Throughout this process we will identify missing variables for inclusion in the SES framework, and seek to determine whether ecological models are compatible with the action situation at the center of the framework.

No paper available.

Monday, October 15, 2012



Wednesday, October 17, 2012


No colloquium due to Ostrom Memorial


Monday, October 22, 2012


Presented by Venelin Ganev, Professor of Political Science Miami University of Ohio


Abstract: Alexis de Tocqueville was among the “classical thinkers” whose ideas were discussed in the immediate aftermath of 1989, a time when big questions about the future of democracy in Eastern Europe attracted worldwide attention. Two decades later, however, it has become clear that these ideas have in fact rarely been brought to bear on the study of the large-scale transformation of the former “second world.” This gap in the literature needs to be addressed. The main argument I will defend is that specific Tocquevillian insights may illuminate such important aspects of postcommunist politics as the sudden rise of electoral contests, the intertwining dynamics of political and economic change, and the persistence of highly visible modes of corrupt elite behavior. Moreover, once Tocqueville’s views on what is likely to happen when a disjuncture transpires between newly established democratic institutions and pre-existing non-democratic mores are treated as probabilistic statements rather than deterministic propositions, they may help us make sense of one of the central facts about contemporary Eastern Europe, namely that by 2007 all former Soviet satellites in the region had become consolidated democracies. Despite the fact that Tocqueville’s oeuvre rarely provides ready-made answers to key questions about post-1989 developments, he remains an indispensable guide for those who want to understand the postcommunist political condition.

BIO: Venelin I. Ganev obtained his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2000 and is now an Associate Professor at Miami University of Ohio and a Faculty Associate of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. His publications have appeared in East European Constitutional Review, American Journal of Comparative Law, Journal of Democracy, East European Politics and Societies, Communist and Postcommunist Studies, Slavic Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, andEurope-Asia Studies. He has also contributed chapters to several volumes that explore various aspects of institution-building in contemporary Europe. His first book, Preying on the State: The Transformation of Postcommunist Bulgaria was published in June 2007 by Cornell University Press.

There will be no paper for this presentation.

Co-sponsors: Tocqueville and Ostrom Workshop

Wednesday, October 24, 2012



Presented by Sergio Villamayor Tomas, currently finishing his dissertation at IUB. Beginning January 2013, he will start a postdoctoral position in the Department of Agricultural Economics (Resource Economics division) at Humboldt University, Berlin.


Abstract: In this paper I use the theory of the commons to explain robustness to different types of disturbances in common pool resource (CPR) contexts. For that purpose, I build on two working hypotheses: (1) robustness is fundamentally mediated by collective action processes, and (2) robustness is contingent on disturbance characteristics. In the analysis, I identify and classify the responses that 5 Spanish irrigation systems have developed to cope with different disturbances in the last 20 years. Then I use Qualitative Quantitative Analysis (QCA) to assess whether the contribution of those responses to the robustness of the systems is mediated by different collective action factors and disturbance attributes. According to the results, one of the most consistent paths to robustness includes the combination of leadership, collective choice and cross-scale linkages, given the context of small or homogeneous systems, or both. That combination, however, is not the only path to robustness. Other combinations of the same factors are associated to robustness, most of which tend to be specific to different types of disturbances. Robustness to intense and frequent disturbances tends to rely on the role of leaders, while robustness to progressive and/or infrequent disturbances depends on a wider set of conditions. Also, not all collective action factors are equally relevant to explain robustness. Leadership and homogeneity show the most consistent effect while collective choice, cross-scale linkages and size are more sensitive to interactions with other factors. Overall, the findings show the explanatory power of the theory of the commons to understand sustainability in disturbance contexts, as well as the relevance of further exploring how disturbance characteristics mediate robustness.

BIO: Sergio Villamayor Tomas is currently finishing his dissertation, which uses the theory of the commons to understand the robustness to droughts and other disturbances of a large system of irrigation communities in the northeast of Spain. Beginning January 2013, he will start a postdoctoral position in the Department of Agricultural Economics (Resource Economics division) at Humboldt University, Berlin.


Friday, October 26, 2012



Presented by Olivier Zunz, Commonwealth Professor of History, University of Virginia, Charlottsville


Abstract: This talk will be based on his introduction to Democracy in America just published in the new Library of America Paperback Classics series. “Writing the History of American Philanthropy” or how have philanthropic institutions contributed to democratic society? In presenting my recently-released book, I argue that philanthropic institutions have enlarged American democracy without ever achieving an uncontested place within the political system. I explore whether philanthropy should be understood as part of the American progressive tradition.

BIO: Olivier Zunz is Commonwealth Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He has held visiting appointments at the Collège de France and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of The Changing Face of Inequality (1982); Making America Corporate (1990); Why the American Century? (1998), and Philanthropy in America: A History (2012). His work on Alexis de Tocqueville includes editing Democracy in America, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (2004, Library of America Paperback Classics, 2012), and editing Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont in America: Their Friendship and Their Travels, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (2010).

Link to Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America: Volume One on the The Library of America website

Link to Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America: Volume Two on the The Library of America website

Co-sponsors: Tocqueville, Center for Philanthropy, and Ostrom Workshop

Monday, October 29, 2012



Presented by Stephanie Kane,  Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, IUB


Abstract: In her new book, Where Rivers Meet the Sea, Stephanie Kane compares two cities and nations—Salvador, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina—as she tells the stories of those who organize in the streets, petition the courts, and challenge their governments to implement and enforce existing laws designed to protect springs, lakes, harbors, and rivers.

BIO: Stephanie Kane is an associate professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University with affiliations in anthropology, folklore, and gender studies. She is author of The Phantom Gringo Boat: Shamanic Discourse and Development in Panama and AIDS Alibis: Sex, Drugs, and Crime in the Americas (Temple). She is coeditor of Crime's Power: Anthropologists and the Ethnography of Crime.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012




Presented by Timor Sharan, visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop


Abstract: I propose to understand the post-2001 political development in Afghanistan in terms of network politics: elites’ interconnections and linkages across institutions and socio-political structures. This is an attempt to propose a “networked theory of state” in post-conflict spaces where state institutions and structures (i.e., clan, ethnic, organisations) have weakened or eroded.

BIO: Timor Sharan (Oct 5-Nov 15, 2012) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter, UK. His research focuses on the political economy of network politics in post-2001 statebuilding in Afghanistan. His thesis explores how networked elites came to be constituted in the post-2001 state and how contestation, cooptation and conflict between competing elites over the state shaped the nature of the post-2001 statebuilding. Timor holds an MPhil in Development Studies from University of Cambridge and a BA in International Relations and Politics from University of Essex. He has worked more than four years for different donor agencies and research policy organizations in Afghanistan including DFID and USAID. At the Ostrom Workshop, Timor will develop further his theoretical framework on the complex relationship between informal networked elites and formal institutions of the state in post-2001 Afghanistan.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Friday, November 2, 2012




Presented by Ronald Beiner, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto


Horizons of Knowledge Lecture


Abstract: Civil religion is a notable theme within our tradition of political thought because many of the leading thinkers of modernity – Machiavelli, Hobbes, Harrington, Spinoza, Locke, Bayle, Montesquieu, Rousseau – came to the view that religion poses a decisive political problem, and were determined to seek out a variety of strategies for domesticating religion politically, civil religion (the political appropriation of religion in the service of the ends of politics, not those of religion) being one of those strategies. The full story is told in my book on Civil Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011). In this talk, I sketch some major themes of the book. But I also try to pose some broader questions: What form of intellectual activity is enacted in reading and interpreting such texts? Is the purpose necessarily to solve specific practical predicaments in a particular time and place, or are the thinkers of the theory canon oriented towards more universal concerns? Arguably, civil religion as formulated by, for instance, Hobbes and Harrington was fairly quickly trumped by competing strategies of domesticating religion within the liberal tradition. Why, then, do the texts in which the civil-religion idea was articulated continue, centuries later, to exercise the degree of fascination that they do?

BIO: Ronald Beiner is Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His books include Political Judgment (1983); What's the Matter with Liberalism? (1992); Philosophy in a Time of Lost Spirit (1997); andLiberalism, Nationalism, Citizenship (2003). His latest book, Civil Religion (2011), explores how thinkers from Machiavelli to Rawls have addressed the problem of politics and religion. He is also editor of Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Co-sponsors: Tocqueville, Ostrom Workshop, Horizons of Knowledge, Department of Political Science, Department of Religious Studies, Department of French and Italian, Center for Theoretical Inquiry in the Humanities, Department of Germanic Studies, Department of History, Department of Philosophy, The Poynter Center

Monday, November 5, 2012


Presented by Peter Grossman, Professor and Efroymson Chair, Economics, Butler University


Abstract: In the midst of the Arab oil embargo in the fall of 1973, the U.S. developed a narrative about the nature of America’s energy problems and the way to solve them. According to this narrative, the U.S. was “dangerously” dependent on foreign oil. Oil could, and, as the embargo showed, would be used a weapon to compel changes in America’s foreign policy. Not only Arabs but all exporters would find the temptation of the oil weapon too tantalizing to ignore. Moreover, the countries that controlled the world oil market would themselves get fabulously wealthy at our expense. As they bought sports cars and private jets were would wear long underwear in cold dark rooms. The only solution for the U.S. was to find a way to become entirely energy self-sufficient and to find technological means to provide abundant energy at low cost.

Some of the elements of this narrative were untrue even in 1973, but within a decade it was clearly wrong in almost every respect. Yet it persisted not only through the 1970s but to this day. In 2009, for example, President Obama promised to end the dangerous U.S. dependence on foreign oil; Mitt Romney promises “North American” energy independence by 2020. Energy independence, Apollo programs for new energy technologies—these are just two of themes of the 1970s that have persisted to this day. Nothing that is said along these lines is particularly new or meaningful. But it shows the persistence of a narrative of the past that had political traction when it originated–traction that it never seems to lose. 

BIO: Dr. Grossman’s areas of expertise include Economic History, Political Economy, Industrial Organization, Law and Economics, Economic/Business History, Natural Resource Economics, and International Economics.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012



Presented by Robin Craig, Professor/Associate Dean of Environmental Programs at Florida State


Abstract: Studies throughout the world have demonstrated and are demonstrating how land use practices can promote disease and hence the deterioration of public health. Moreover, climate change is already allowing disease vectors such as mosquitoes to expand into new areas and to take advantage of current land use practices, helping to explain malaria’s re-expansion into many nations from which it had been essentially eradicated and the appearance of dengue fever into Florida.

This talk explores the potential use of the police power to address these new and emerging land use-based public health threats. In particular, the talk and eventual paper will focus on the legal divergence of the land use police power and the public health police power, arguing that the courts should rely on the latter to address land use-based public health measures. Although both forms of the police power once insulated governments from constitutional takings claims and civil rights claims and often blended with the public necessity doctrine, the land use police power has since become weakened by: (1) a vigorous regulatory takings doctrine; and (2) an evolution of legal views of property rights from being flexible rights subject to evolving community needs and values (the communitarian view) to being defined and unchanging crystallizations of rights that should not have to adapt (the libertarian or neo-conservative view). In contrast, the public health police power retains most of its original strength in terms of governmental regulatory authority, although subject to more strenuous due process requirements than was the case when the United States was founded. As a result, as courts adjust to the many new pressures that climate change impacts will place on socio-ecological systems--and to governments’ responses to those new pressures–governments would be well advised to invoke the public health aspects of their police powers whenever possible, rather than relying solely on land use mechanisms and procedures.

BIO: Robin Kundis Craig is the William H. Leary Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she is also affiliated with the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment. Professor Craig specializes in all things water, including the relationships between climate change and water; water and energy; the Clean Water Act; the intersection of water issues and land issues; marine biodiversity and marine protected areas; water law; and the relationships between environmental law and public health. She is the author or co-author of five books: The Clean Water Act and the Constitution (ELI 2nd Ed. 2009), Environmental Law in Context (Thomson/West 3rd Ed. 2012), Toxic and Environmental Torts (Thomson/West 2010),Comparative Ocean Governance: Place-Based Protections in an Era of Climate Change (Edward Elgar 2012), and Modern Water Law (Foundation Press, forthcoming 2013). She has also written over 50 law review articles and book chapters. She was appointed to three successive National Research Council committees on the Clean Water Act and the Mississippi River; has consulted on water quality issues with the government of Victoria, Australia, and the Council on Environmental Cooperation in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and was one of 12 marine educators chosen to participate in a 2010 program in the Papahanamokuakea Marine National Monument, spending a week on Midway Atoll. Professor Craig also serves on the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Executive Council; as Supreme Court News Editor for the ABA’s Administrative & Regulatory Law News; and as a consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund. At the University of Utah, she teaches Environmental Law, Water Law, Ocean & Coastal Law, Toxic Torts, and Property.


Monday, November 12, 2012




Presented by Abigail York, Assistant Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University; paper written by Abigail M. York, Hallie Eakin, Skaidra Smith-Heisters, and Julia Chrissie Bausch


Abstract: Throughout the world there are emerging challenges that must be solved through private action for the public good. In cases where the public good is adaptive capacity within a social-ecological system, the collective action problems can be especially difficult and complex. In this study we utilize the empirical case of irrigation in Central Arizona to better understand how various policy instruments: incentive, market, and technological standards, contribute to private provisioning of public adaptation goods. We focus on how these institutions create perverse incentives, as well as their potential to create collective action via private provisioning decisions. Our findings suggest that rather than using the existing institutional arrangements for private provisioning of public adaptation goods, policymakers should explicitly consider alternative forms that take into account the threat of climate change and the spatial and temporal variation of this complex urban-agricultural social-ecological system.

BIO: Research: The decisions people make are shaped in part by rules and norms that constrain or induce choices. Over time groups develop strategies for solving particular problems. These shared strategies limit their choice set. Rules, norms, and shared strategies are collectively defined as institutions. I study how institutions affect the environment and in turn how environmental feedbacks influence institutional change. Beginning with my dissertation, I have used the lens of institutional analysis to investigate complex, sustainable governance challenges particularly those facing rapidly urbanizing regions. The means, approaches, empirical cases, and disciplines that I utilize in my research, however, have evolved significantly over the past decade, and have become increasingly transdisciplinary.

Teaching: My philosophy for teaching builds upon my transdisciplinary approach to research; I provide opportunities for my students to analyze institutions and governance issues by engaging both scholarly and real-world communities and push them to break down academic silos by utilizing diverse academic literatures and methods. York currently teaches the Environmental Social Science ESS 513 Institutions course, which focuses on institutional theory and analysis. She also teaches ASB 416:Economic Anthropology an undergraduate course that explores various theories of human decision-making using examples from students’ lives, e.g. the current foreclosure crisis in Phoenix, as well as examples from around the world, i.e. how the Soviet State changed farmers’ behaviors. Before coming to ASU, York was an assistant professor in the Department of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012




Presented by Ursula Kreitmair, joint PhD program student in Public Policy of IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science


Abstract: This talk will be an informal discussion of an experimental research design that aims to take a closer look at the role of information in social dilemmas by uncovering the effect of voluntary revelation of extraction rates in common pool resource settings. In contrast to what is predicted by traditional economic theory, we find that individuals cooperate (to a certain extent) to collectively manage common pool resources. Both in the field and in the lab, there are numerous cases where the theory of the self-regarding rational actor cannot explain the cooperation that we observe. An alternative theory posits that a large proportion of individuals cooperate when this behavior is reciprocated. Before deciding to cooperate, one must determine how many other people in the group are inclined to cooperate. This suggests that the rules governing how information is disseminated across the group are crucial in understanding why some communities are more successful than others in managing a common pool resource. The proposed experiment allows for the testing of information dissemination. By making the revelation of extraction rates in the experiment voluntary, group members have the opportunity to signal to each other their willingness to cooperate.

BIO: Ursula Kreitmair is in the joint PhD program in Public Policy of IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Appreciating the complexity of human behavior, she aims to enrich her initial neoclassical approach to environmental problems with institutional analysis. Furthermore she takes a keen interest in environmental equity. Ursula holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc in Environmental Policy, Planning and Regulation from the London School of Economics. She has worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH Environmental Policy Programme in Beijing.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Monday, November 19, 2012




Wednesday, November 21, 2012




Monday, November 26, 2012




Presented by William Bianco, Professor of Political Science, IUB, and affiliated faculty of the Ostrom Workshop, Jeffrey Hill, Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Political Science of Northeastern Illinois University, and Robert Landis, Technical Manager/Senior Engineer at NASA Goddard-Wallops Flight Facility; research also conducted in conjunction with Maxim Matushin, Bauman Institute and Roscosmos

Abstract: The International Space Station (ISS) is a symbol of what is possible when two nations that were formerly competitors decide to work together. This cooperation did not emerge easily or automatically. Our project focuses on the measures taken to build cooperation, assesses whether they are necessary after a decade of joint operations, and describes the lessons of ISS for future international space exploration programs.

BIO: William Bianco: William Bianco’s research focuses on American Politics, with emphasis on Congress, legislative decision-making, representation, and positive political theory. He is the author of Trust: Representatives and Constituents (University of Michigan Press, 1994), American Politics: Strategy and Choice (W. W. Norton, 2001), editor of Congress on Display, Congress at Work (University of Michigan Press, 2000) and author or coauthor of numerous journal articles, most recently “‘A Theory Waiting to Be Discovered and Used:’ A Reanalysis of Canonical Experiments on Majority Rule Decision-Making” (Journal of Politics, 2006) and “Uncovering Majority Party Influence in Legislatures” (American Political Science Review, 2005). He is also the co-recipient of two National Science Foundation Grants. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook (1982), and his PhD. from the University of Rochester (1987) under the direction of William Riker and Richard Fenno. He arrived at Indiana University in September 2006 after holding faculty appointments at Duke University and Penn State University, and visiting appointments at Stanford University and Harvard University. He was also a visiting scholar at The Brookings Institution. His teaching responsibilities at Indiana include undergraduate courses on American Politics, Legislative Politics, and Statistics, and graduate classes on Legislative Politics, Statistics, Formal Modeling, and Institutional Analysis. He is an Affiliated Faculty at the Workshop for Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, as well as a member of the Workshop’s Advisory Committee. He also serves or has served as a reviewer for several academic journals and presses, a member of various professional committees and editorial boards, and as a member of the National Science Foundation’s Political Science Advisory Committee.

There will be no paper with this presentation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012




Presented by Irene Iniesta, visiting scholar at the Ostrom Workshop


Abstract: Irrigation systems have been described as social-ecological networks as the management of the ecological networks connects different stakeholders. Some traditional irrigation systems in Spain based on the use of water transport and storage infrastructures, called acequias are a good example of this type of networks and have a long persistence history. However, Mediterranean traditional land-use systems are currently undergoing intense changes that are leading to a polarization of land-use: the abandonment of land-management practices in some areas and intense use in others. In particular, semi-arid and arid areas are among the most sensitive areas within Mediterranean systems to these drivers of change. In this work we analyze the structure of the water management networks of two semi-arid watersheds, the Adra and Nacimiento watersheds, located in SE Spain. We draw on social and biophysical data, specifically we analyze (a) blue and green freshwater flows, (b) the current and desired collaboration networks, and (c) the discourses of the different social actors to identify the main synergies and barriers for collective action in the area.

BIO: Irene Iniesta-Arandia (Sept 24–Dec 23, 2012) is a PhD candidate in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). She is a member of the Social-Ecological Systems Laboratory at the Ecology Department of UAM. She holds an MSc in Biology at Lunds Universitet and an MSc in Ecology at UAM. In her PhD research, she focuses in the ecosystem services provided by semi-arid watersheds and the formal and informal institutions behind its management. She uses different methodological approaches with a special emphasis on social network analysis. At the Ostrom Workshop, she wants to develop her work on the structures of collaboration networks among different water users and municipalities in water management.

There will be no paper for this presentation.

Monday, December 3, 2012



Presented by Mark Kanazawa, Professor of Economics, Carleton College


Abstract: Economists and legal scholars have debated the extent to which western water law in the 19th century originated in the desire to promote economic growth or to service economic efficiency objectives, or to provide fair and broad access to water to competing claimants. This debate has been hampered by incomplete attention to the available evidence, as well as interpretive challenges resulting from incomplete development of what it means for outcomes to be considered fair. To shed light on this debate, this paper examines provisions governing mining and water rights contained in the surviving codes of mining camps that were created in the 1850's during the California Gold Rush. In comparing these mining code provisions with the predictions of a vast experimental literature on positive theories of distributive justice, a complex picture emerges that lends some support to both the efficiency and fairness hypotheses.

BIO: Mark Kanazawa received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and is currently Professor of Economics at Carleton College. Kanazawa’s recent research has centered primarily on 19th century economic history in the western United States, with a specific focus on the California Gold Rush. He is currently working on a book entitled: “Golden Rules: The Origins of Western Water Law in Early California, 1848-1865”. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012



Presented by Josef Woldense, PhD student in Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington  


Abstract: The coup d’état—a means to seize political power by way of a sudden and illegal attack against the ruler—has been a valuable tool for conspirators throughout history in initiating the transfer of power. In an effort to better characterize the dynamics of this phenomenon, I will offer a new perspective that views the coup d’état as fundamentally relational. I begin with the premise that the coup is a conspiracy that emerges and unfolds within the network that is the state. Consisting of the government, military, police and various bureaucratic agencies, the state can be understood in relational terms as a collection of people defined by a set of ties that link actors to each other. In this web of relations, to wield power is to coordinate the actions of others in accord with one’s objective. That is to say, political power is not an attribute of the individual, but the property of the network. What matters in coups is access to this network.

Accordingly, the argument I put forth is that access to the network of the state begets power, the kind that enables one to mobilize the necessary human and material resources to either squash or stage a coup d’état. Whoever succeeds in either increasing their own access or conversely curtailing that of their enemies’ is likely to be victorious.

BIO: Josef Woldense is a PhD student in Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interests lie in the fields of institutional analysis, contentious politics and social network analysis. At the beginning of the spring semester, he is planning on commencing his field work and travel to Ethiopia to conduct archival research for his dissertation on coups.

There will be no paper with this presentation.