The Commons in the New Millennium

From Politics, Science, and the Environment

The Commons in the New Millennium

Challenges and Adaptation

Edited by Nives Dolšak and Elinor Ostrom

Foreword by Bonnie J. McKay





Globalization, population growth, and resource depletion are drawing increased attention to the importance of common resources such as forests, water resources, and fisheries. It is critical that these resources be governed in an equitable and sustainable way. The Commons in the New Millennium presents cutting-edge research in common property theory and provides an overview and progress report on common property research. The book analyzes new problems that owners, managers, policy makers, and analysts face in managing natural commons. It examines recent findings about the physical characteristics of the commons, their complexity and interconnectedness, and the role of social capital. It also provides empirical studies and suggestions for sustainable development. The topics discussed include the role of financial, political, and social capital in deforestation, community efforts to gain political influence in Indonesia, the Maine lobster industry, outcomes of the implementation of individual transferable quotas in New Zealand and Iceland fisheries, and design of multilateral emissions trading for regional air pollution and global warming.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262042147 394 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262541428 394 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Nives Dolšak

Nives Dolšak is Assistant Professor in the Master of Arts program in Policy Studies at the University of Washington, Bothell.

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom is Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science, Codirector of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, and Codirector of the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University.Ostrom was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.


Bonnie J. McKay.


  • As the editors point out, the commons are not a nearly extinct topic, but rather a vitally important one.

    Randall J. Hannum

    Natural Resources Forum

  • It is hard to imagine a person who would not learn something from examining this book.

    Forest Reinhardt Environment


  • A useful addition to the literature that will have a wide audience. The issues addressed in this book will be of particular interest to those who study and work with common property resources.

    Gary D. Libecap

    Professor of Economics and Law, University of Arizona

  • Congratualtions to those who have put together this impressive book! The editors and authors have produced a volume that tackles the human dimension of common-pool resources, as well as the governance of the biosphere for sustainability. The Commons in the New Millennium enhances our understanding of complex sociol-ecological systems and institutional and organizational resilience, among other topics. highly recommended.

    Carl Folke

    Director, Center for Research on Natural Resources and the Environment, and Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University

  • The early literature on common property struggled with the legacy of Hardin's 'tragedy of the commons,' while the later literature often focused on small-scale, community-based systems to build a new theory. The Commons in the New Millennium takes the next logical step forward. Essays in this expertly crafted collection represent common property scholarship that looks to the future, and there are lessons here for alternative ways of devising new institutions to meet the challenges ahead.–

    Fikret Berkes

    Professor, University of Manitoba, and Canada Research Chair in Community-Based Resource Management