Public Choice

, Volume 143, Issue 3–4, pp 339–352 | Cite as

Exit, collective action and polycentric political systems

  • Peter Kurrild-KlitgaardEmail author


Elinor Ostrom and the Bloomington School’s important contributions include the development of the concept of “polycentric” political systems and the demonstration that solutions to common-pool resource problems may be solved voluntarily by rational individuals, even in situations that resemble Prisoners’ Dilemmas. The program, however, pays little attention to how individuals’ ability to exit may affect the interaction in Prisoners’ Dilemma-like situations, for worse or better. We argue why this is a worthwhile consideration and survey results from public choice and game theory.


Collective action Game theory Prisoners’ Dilemma Simulations Experiments Governance Elinor Ostrom 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Political ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

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