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Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fourth 'Workshop on the Workshop' to take place June 3-6

May 26, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Part serious academic conference, part celebratory reunion of friends, colleagues, teachers and students, the fourth "Workshop on the Workshop" will take place June 3-6 at Indiana University Bloomington.

The conference celebrates and augments the research and scholarship of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, established in 1973 at IU Bloomington by political scientists Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom. The Workshop on the Workshop takes place every five years.

WOW4, as this year's conference is called, will bring together about 150 people from around the world, many of them traveling from Africa and Asia. Approximately 90 presentations and dozens of panels are scheduled on topics dealing with development, natural resource management and governance. More information is available online at

"The focus of the conference can be summarized as 'studies in self-governance,'" said James Walker, IU Bloomington professor of economics and co-director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. "In large part, these scholars focus on the development of 'bottom-up' collective action dealing with governance issues in less developed countries, as well as developing local institutions to deal with the maintenance and use of commonly held resources such as fisheries, forests and irrigation systems."

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom

This year's conference comes at a time of transition for the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, with Elinor Ostrom moving from her longtime role as co-director to the newly created position of senior research director, allowing her to focus on research and graduate training. Walker and Michael McGinnis, IU Bloomington professor of political science, will serve as co-directors. WOW4, Walker said, provides an opportunity to get input from colleagues, reflect on the Workshop's past and look forward to its future.

About the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis is Indiana University's largest social-science research center, with 30 affiliated faculty members at IU, 25 at other institutions, visiting scholars who spend between one month and two years at the Workshop, graduate students and research associates. Its mission is to promote the interdisciplinary study of institutions, incentives and behavior as they relate to policy-relevant applications. The term 'workshop' represents the conviction that the skills for such research are best acquired and used in a setting where students, working as apprentices and journeymen, have the opportunity to collaborate with experienced scholars.

For more information on the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, see