Elinor Ostrom and the robust political economy of common-pool resources

Mark Pennington*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper situates Elinor Ostrom's work on common-pool resource management in the tradition of `robust political economy'. Ostrom's analysis of bottom-up governance institutions is shown to recognise that such arrangements though imperfect are better placed to cope with bounded rationality and incentive compatibility problems in the management of smaller-and medium-scale common-pool resources. While Ostrom's work provides an analytical framework to explain the success of these arrangements, however, the paper argues that it lacks a robust account of when, if ever, top-down governance arrangements are to be preferred.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)449-468
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of institutional economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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