Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons: Transferring Ostrom’s Design Principles to Global Climate Change Mitigation by Preservation of the Atmosphere:

University essay from Handelshögskolan i Stockholm/Institutionen för nationalekonomi

Abstract: Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the international community at present. Traditional collective action, as illustrated by the “Tragedy of the Commons” does not provide much hope for the preservation of the global commons, such as our atmosphere. There are however many examples of sustainable management systems for local environmental common-pool resources. The 2009 Nobel Laureate, Elinor Ostrom, has presented a framework of eight design principles that characterize such systems (1990). In this thesis we analyze the transferability of her framework to global climate change mitigation by preservation the atmosphere. Using a wide range of economic theory, but with an emphasis on collective action theory and game theory, we show that most of Ostrom’s design principles are indeed transferable to varying extents. Analyzing the transferability of the framework also provides valuable insights on important elements and procedures in how to manage a global system for the preservation of the atmosphere.

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