Self-governance of common-pool resources

Scientific Project 

Module Objectives

The students

  • learn about the opportunities and challenges that arise from self-governance of common-pool resources,
  • are able to apply their knowledge to a specific research question on the self-government of common-pool resources,
  • are able to discuss their research and that of other seminar participants in plenary sessions


The scientific project deals with the government of common-pool resources. These are resources to which more than one individual has access, but where each individual’s consumption reduces the availability of the resource to others (like fish stocks, pastures, woods, and groundwater basins). According to conventional wisdom, common-pool resources should be completely privatized or regulated by central authorities. In many cases self-government proved to be successful, however. The scientific project will highlight the conditions under which self-governance is appropriate.

The scientific project consists of two parts. In part 1, chapters from the book by Elinor Ostrom “Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action.” Cambridge University Press, 1990, will be presented and discussed by participants. In the second part, each participant writes a paper and gives a presentation on the self-governance of a specific common-pool resource. The topics of the individual projects will be worked out in the course of the seminar.


  • none
    • Recommendations: Participants should have knowledge in the area of game theory.

Workload and Credit Points

56 hours attendance time and 394 learning hours incl. exam(s) / 15CP


  • Ostrom, E. (1990): Governing the commons: The evolution of institutions for collective action. Cambridge University Press.

Letzte Änderung: 18.01.2023 - Ansprechpartner: Webmaster