Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Governing the Commons

Governing the Commons I've been intending to read Elinor Olstrom's Governing the Commons since Michael Nielsen recommended it at Solo11, but I only got around to it over Christmas.
The work, for which Olstrom won the Nobel Prize, is about the allocation of "common-pool resources" (CPRs) mostly of a physical nature such as water or fishing rights and gives many examples of where solutions have been reached.

I was particularly interested in Olstrom's discussion of the "theory of the firm" (entrepreneurs) and the "theory of the state" (rulers), and how this relates to academics working in universities struggling with OER production and use. All I have to do now is read Hobbes Leviathan, something I had an inking I might need to do when all my university contemporaries had it on their shelves while I had biochemistry textbooks. Olstrom's solution to CPR allocation is to address three problems: supply, commitment, and mutual monitoring, giving us a framework for addressing OER issues. What is apparent from reading the many case studies analysed is the absence of heavy-handed institutional intervention in successful and stable CPR allocation.

Although Olstrom states that "in a highly competitive environment, those that do not search for and select ... rules that enhance net benefits will lose out to those who are successful in adopting better rules" the question remains in terms of OER adoption whether universities are competitive or are in fact a cartel.

No comments:

Post a Comment