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You are here: Home 2010 Weekly Sessions Session 9– 11.08.2010 Institutions for managing human-environment systems (Speaker: Elinor Ostrom) Required reading from the Sustainability Science book
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Required reading from the Sustainability Science book

I suggest that you start with a quick read of Chapter 2_4a, the "Appendix" on "Institutions and externalities." It provides a general overview of the institutional challenges for managing human-environment systems. But because our guest speaker, Elinor Ostrom, has focused in her writing on the governance of common pool resources, I suggest that we will get the most out of this seminar session by focusing a careful reading and our discussion on Chapter 2.4 (old chapter 4) "How human well being and development depend on institutions." The discussion questions provided by the ASU team have been selected with this focus in mind. (Clark)

How human well-being and the environment depend on institutions
This chapter focuses on the challenges of governing common-pool resources. Its lead author, and our speaker for the session, Elinor Ostrom summarizes insights and perspectives for which she recently won the Nobel Prize in economics (!). For those interested in her most recent thoughts on these and related issues, see her Nobel Prize acceptance address, provided on this site under 'Supplemental Readings suggested by Moderator."
Appendix: Institutions and externalities
This "appendix" by Partha Dasgupta can profitably be read as an introduction to and context for the Ostrom chapter on which we will focus in the seminar discussions. It paints a broader picture of the causes of institutional failure in the governance of human-environment systems, but does so from a more classically rational-actor view of human agency than the approach used in the Ostrom paper. As you will gather, the book authors have not quite come to terms with their different perspectives on the question of institutions... We look forward to your comments and suggestions.