Saturday, March 26, 2011

Warriors Against Rational Choice: Gunshots as a solution to public goods problems?

Elinor Ostrom, the 2009 cowinner of the Nobel Prize, has a long body of work stressing the importance of communication for solving complex local public goods problems. In Ostrom's work, it is often low-level interactions between individuals that can make the difference in preserving common spaces and resources rather than top-down legislation and enforcement. I was thinking of her work while reading the story of these two chaps who shot at each other (hitting the target in one case) as an argument over a dog belonging to one of them defecating on the other's property became heated. Not exactly the type of smooth respectful local public goods bargaining that would be envisioned in these accounts.

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