Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Elinor Ostrom

Her death is a great loss for all the social sciences. Its hard to believe that it has been twenty years since I first read Governing the Commons. It came out in a series that Doug North was co-editing, and he gave me a copy. She will of course be remembered for her pioneering work on common property. I think that in the long run she will be remembered even more for her apprectiation of the diversity of institutions and her insistence upon the need for both rigorous theory and careful empirical analysis. Elinor Ostrom's approach to the analysis of institutional change was not easy, but it was fruitful. I might also note that her papers can used as a model for anyone seeking to write clearly about complicated issues.