Riding in cars with boys: Elinor Ostrom’s adventures with the Police..

Well, if I had a choice I would just close myself and read all of Lin Ostrom (and Vincent Ostrom) works.

In this brilliant paper by  the trio from GMU – Peter J. Boettke, Jayme S. Lemke and Liya Palagashvili- we get more flavor of the brilliance of Ostrom works. Superbly titled it tells you what Ostrom has been saying all along – decentralised instis work much better than centralised instis.

Prof Ostrom began her journey with Police services (whether cities need larger and more centralised police services), The findings were then extended to other areas like commons etc:

More than forty years ago, Elinor Ostrom began her adventures with the police. In order to combat the conventional view that “bigger means better,” Ostrom pioneered a field work-based framework for measuring police services that utilized consumer surveys and thereby created a community-centered model of analysis for public services. In this paper, we contend that although Ostrom’s career demonstrated the importance of employing multiple methods, her most enduring contributions and legacy came from on-the-ground research. Her case studies and field work proved to be necessary for examining complex systems beyond the state-market dichotomy, and these methods of analysis should be defended as critical for inquiry into the variety of institutional arrangements.

The paper has this interesting matrix which clubs Ostrom’s works with mainstream eco, anthropology, statistical socio and how Ostrom works has a distinct contribution to social sciences.

The authors bats for her work which is not as mathematical and rigorous and more on narrative.


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