The research project COMMONS - Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources include research teams at Indiana University, University of Gothenburg, and Resources for the Future. It is led by Professor Thomas Sterner amongst others. Please go to Themes to read a presentation of our four research themes.
The research project COMMONS - Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources is based on collaboration between Environmental Economics Unit (EEU) at the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg (UoG) and two internationally leading research partners, the research group at Indiana University (IU), and the multidisciplinary American research institute Resources for the Future (RFF). Since the start of the program New York University has also been engaged.
Research grant to Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources
The Environmental Economics Unit has received a large research grant from Formas together with Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom's research group at Indiana University, and Resources for the Future in Washington. The grant is five million Swedish crowns annually for three years with possible extension up to five years.
The research project Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources is based on collaboration between the Environmental Economics Unit (EEU) at the Department of Economics in Gothenburg and two internationally leading research partners, Indiana University (IU) and Resources for the Future (RFF) Washington D.C.
Professor Elinor Ostrom, who was awarded Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, has lead the Indiana University team. Her work is central to the methodology and work in this research programme, which is divided into four interdisciplinary research themes: 1) Individual behaviour, cooperation and trust; 2) Quality of Life for People and Animals; 3)Fairness and Distributional Issues of Management and Policies, and 4) Governance, Policies and Sustainable Management.
– The world’s most pressing environmental and natural resource problems, such as global warming, overfishing, overharvesting and overgrazing, reflect ultimately the lack of adequate human cooperation, says Thomas Sterner, who leads the Gothenburg environmental economists.
These are situations where seemingly rational individual action is collectively detrimental, Sterner explains. While conventional economics has dealt with such free-riding problems for a long time, the insights that can be drawn from microeconomic models based on the perfectly rational but completely egoistic and atomistic Homo Economicus are limited.
– However, political scientist Elinor Ostrom, who has often been described as the world’s leading researcher on human cooperation has in a unique research endeavour shown that common property resources can under certain conditions be well managed even without external pressure from national or supranational authorities. Moreover, even if this is in conflict with conventional microeconomics based on Homo Economicus, it is more in line with insights from modern behavioural economics, says Sterner.
Through this program EEU will increase its strength further by intensifying its collaboration with Indiana University and the research fellows at Resources for the Future. Elinor Ostrom and her team will collaborate with the EEU on development of methodologies and also undertake research on irrigation and forestry systems as part of this joint endeavour. In order to facilitate interaction within each team and between teams there will be thematic workshops and an annual meeting.
For more information about Formas please see www.formas.se