Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 45–51 | Cite as

Governing the commons: future directions for the Ostrom Project

  • Thráinn EggertssonEmail author


Now, when longitudinal data are available or soon will be, it is important to carefully consider research strategies for the second phase of the Ostrom Project. I recommend a problem oriented approach aimed at answering questions and solving puzzles that have emerged in the last 25–30 years and a focus on the political dimensions of the commons. Reading Lin’s paper in this issue, I found her proposal valuable but too narrow. I suggest that the longitudinal phase of the Project should deal explicitly with institutions and mechanisms for solving conflicts among local participants over how to divide the costs and benefits of using common resources. I offer, as an illustration, a number of research questions that emphasize institutions in the policy and constitutional spheres rather than in the operational one.


Institutions Institutional change Commons Natural resources 

JEL Classification

Q2 Q3 Q15 P48 P51 


  1. Dietz, T. (2005). The Darwinian trope in the drama of the commons: Variations on some themes by the Ostroms. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 57, 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Osterloh, M., & Rota, S. (2007). Open source software development—Just another case of collective invention? Research Policy, 36, 157–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Ostrom, E. (2013). Do institutions for collective action evolve? Journal of Bioeconomics. doi: 10.1007/s10818-013-9154-8.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Economic StudiesUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Hertie School of GovernanceBerlinGermany

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