The article presents findings from a qualitative study of how Russians deal with neighbors who have leaked water onto them. In the Russian context, this is neither an uncommon nor a small problem. Building on US-based studies of neighborhood relations, the article lays out three alternative strategies: avoidance, self-help, and third-party intervention. The Russian participants lived in close proximity to one another and had little opportunity for exit. The study documents a strong preference for self-help, confirming the potency of the relational distance hypothesis for Russia. In contrast to their US counterparts, the Russian participants’ lack of exit did not give rise to more intense and prolonged disputes. The findings suggest that there is a strong informal norm in favor of neighbors resolving disputes among themselves and that the residents who share common entryways (pod”ezdy) work out the parameters of acceptable behavior over time. These informal norms shape Russians’ legal consciousness.
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.
Foundations of the Ostrom workshop: institutional analysis, polycentricity, and self-governance of the commonsPosted: May 22, 2010
This paper highlights important lessons gained from the research program of Elinor Ostrom, and demonstrates the close connection between public choice and the work on collective management of the commons for which Lin was honored by the Nobel Prize committee. Although our primary focus is on Lin’s research on self-governance and the “commons,” an overarching goal is to capture the intellectual journey of participants in the Ostrom Workshop, who continue to be guided by the inspiring examples set by Lin and Vincent Ostrom.
Is the only form of ‘reasonable regulation’ self regulation?: Lessons from Lin Ostrom on regulating the commons and cultivating citizensPosted: May 22, 2010
Elinor Ostrom, the 2009 Nobel Prize winner in economic science, has made significant contributions throughout her career to the disciplines of political economy and public choice. This article focuses on her contributions to our understanding of how rules of self-governance can produce cooperation out of situations of conflict over resource use. Through the use of a multiple-methods approach to political economy, Ostrom has demonstrated in a variety of historical circumstances and within a diversity of institutional environments how individuals can craft rules so that they can live better together in their communities and realize the gains from social cooperation under the division of labor.