01/29/2016 - Tocqueville Lecture Series, Paul Dragos Aligica, “Institutional Diversity and Political Economy: The Ostroms and Beyond”
From David Price
In his article “Virginia, Rochester, and Bloomington” (Public Choice, 1988), William C. Mitchell wrote: Aside from the family analogy, it seems that three schools of thought have appeared in public choice and that they are suffi ciently diff erent to warrant distinctive labels. Mine are taken from their geographical locations: Virginia (Charlottesville; Blacksburg; Fairfax), Rochester, and Bloomington. At each of these institutions one or two dominant fi gures led and continue to lead in the eff ort to construct theories of collective choice: Riker at Rochester, Buchanan and Tullock at various Virginia universities, and the Ostroms at Indiana. Several decades after Mitchell’s article was published, Bloomington has not only consolidated its position as one of the most dynamic and productive centers of political theory and scholarly innovation in social sciences in general—the home of a remarkable, unique, and extremely successful combination of interdisciplinary theoretical approaches and hard-nosed empiricism—but also has established itself as a model of a very effi cient academic organization, the heart of an international network of scholars, and the basis of a truly innovative research program. The discussion will use as a starting point my recent book, Institutional Diversity and Political Economy: The Ostroms and Beyond (Oxford University Press, 2014), which explores some of the most challenging ideas emerging out of the research program on institutional diversity associated with the Ostroms and their associates, while outlining a set of new research directions and an original interpretation of the signifi cance and future of this program.