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Understanding Institutional Diversity

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 2006 William H. Riker Book Award, Political Economy Section of the American Political Science Association

"Understanding Institutional Diversity is a comprehensive book on the management of the common pool. It includes overviews of major theoretical issues and empirical studies. Anyone who is interested in how common-pool problems are or are not successfully resolved by locally devised arrangement should read it."--Gary D. Libecap, The Independent Review

From the Back Cover

"This will undoubtedly be a very popular, much-assigned, and much-cited magnum opus."--Carl Simon, University of Michigan

"What emerges from Elinor Ostrom's book is precisely what the title suggests---an understanding of the diverse nature of institutions that exist in human societies to promote human cooperation or to hinder it. This is a significant work by one of the most thoughtful social scientists in the world and it will attract a large number of readers and enlighten them."--Peter Boettke, George Mason University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; annotated edition edition (September 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691122075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691122076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,382,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ian S. Moss on April 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been searching for a book on rules, their relationships to the structure of organizations, and to the outcomes produced by such organizations. The focus of this search was on commons based resources. I found what I was looking for when I found this book - it was immensely rewarding to read. At its heart is an outline of a discipline devoted to identifying what works and what doesn't work in terms of structuring organizations and the rules under which they operate. The first part of the book focusses on the use of game theory in this context. The second part of the book focusses more on the discipline of how to go about diagnosing instutional rule bases and exploring their consequences. The last part of the book provides some insight into what has been learned as a result of applying these tools - something that is well worth reading on its own. This book is essential reading for those who are concerned about human - environmental systems and interactions. Overall - a superb book.
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Format: Paperback
Most people who get politics don't get economics. And most people who get economics don't get politics. The Member of Congress and the professional economist are, with rare exception, very different creatures that inhabit very different worlds. This is the one work of social science I've seen that has the theoretical and empirical chops to bridge this gap. Ostrom does this clearly and concisely by drawing on her extensive field experience, the results of game theory lab experiments, and building a framework around adding a delta to the explicit payoffs of the prisoners' dilemma problem to represent common sense contextual factors.

Brilliant throughout, the framework and supporting empirical and theoretical material are incredibly powerful and relevant for any social scientist or policy analyst who wishes to maintain a practical orientation without sacrificing theoretical rigor.
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