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Claudia Brink
Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis

Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2011

IU center to participate in research funded by Swedish agency

March 2, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The key Swedish scientific research agency has awarded funding for a three-year project, "Human Cooperation to Manage Natural Resources," to the Environmental Economics Unit of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Researchers at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University will be participating in this project, which will extend the study of resource management, social-ecological systems and related topics.

Joining the multi-disciplinary team will be researchers at Resources for the Future based in Washington, D.C.

Elinor Ostrom

Photo by Ric Cradick

Elinor Ostrom

Print-Quality Photo

The project will be building on the work of Elinor Ostrom, the Workshop's co-founder and senior research director and the 2009 Nobel Prize laureate in economic sciences. FORMAS, the Swedish national research council, awarded $2.4 million to fund this project. The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis will receive $269,000 over three years.

"This is an exciting project that will advance our understanding of some very important research questions," said Ostrom, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Indiana University Bloomington. "We at the Workshop look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working on these issues, along with our friends and colleagues at the University of Gothenburg and Resources for the Future. We are grateful to FORMAS for making this work possible."

Ostrom and other researchers will conduct studies related to the sustainable management of the Earth's resources. Project themes include behavior, cooperation and trust; quality of life for people and animals; issues of fairness and resource distribution; and governance, policy and sustainable management.

The Workshop team will:

  • Examine the social and environmental effects of decentralization of forest management in India, Nepal, Uganda and other countries, making use of data from the International Forestry Resources and Institutions program.
  • Advance and update a general framework for the analysis of social-ecological systems that Ostrom produced for a 2009 article in Science.
  • Begin bridging the gap between two realms of study, the management of common-pool resources and the choice of policy instruments.

The overall project is geared to address natural resource problems such as global warming, overfishing and overgrazing. The researchers point out that the vast majority of the world's billion poorest people, who live on less than $1 a day, live in rural areas and are crucially dependent on natural resources for survival.

The research will include analysis of previously collected data, field experiments, surveys, game theory studies and other approaches. It will result in research papers, articles for popular media and practical information for policymakers.

For more information, contact Claudia Brink at 812-855-0443 or For more about the Workshop, see