Friday, August 30, 2013

Tim Harford on Garrett Hardin, Elinor Ostrom, and the Conservation of the Commons

An excellent piece in the Financial Times (here). And I'm not just saying that because Tim is kind enough to drop my name in the article. He really captures the very different ways in which Garrett Hardin and Lin Ostrom viewed collective action problems relating to common-pool resources.

I'm currently working on a paper with my IU and Ostrom Workshop colleagues Mike McGinnis and Graham Epstein, on a treatment of Hardin's "Herder Problem" (as "the tragedy of the commons" is known among game theorists), which (hopefully) will add substantially to our understanding of the problem, even beyond Lin's enormous contribution. The basic insight of our paper is that the institutional aspect of Hardin's story is even deeper and more intricate than either Hardin or Lin (explicitly) acknowledged.

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