No, no se lo han dado a Obama. El Nobel de Economía corresponde a Elinor Ostrom y Oliver Williamson. La blogosfera filo-austriaca (Austrian Economists, Econlog, Cafe Hayek, Marginal Revolution, Mises Blog, Organizations and Markets, Knowledge Problem, Division of Labour) se muestra satisfecha, cuando no entusiasmada, con la elección de este año.
La nota de prensa oficial resume las aportaciones de ambos.
Elinor Ostrom has demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by user associations. Oliver Williamson has developed a theory where business firms serve as structures for conflict resolution. Over the last three decades these seminal contributions have advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention.Extracto varias reacciones sobre el Nobel a Ostrom, así como enlaces a algunos de sus trabajos. Dedicaré una segunda entrada a las reacciones sobre Williamson.
Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution:
Lynne Kiesling, Knowledge Problem:
Elinor Ostrom's work culminated in Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action which uses case studies to argue that around the world private associations have often, but not always, managed to avoid the tragedy of the commons and develop efficient uses of resources. (Ostrom summarizes some of her findings from this research here). Using game theory she provided theoretical underpinnings for these findings and using experimental methods she put these theories to the test in the lab.For Ostrom it's not the tragedy of the commons but the opportunity of the commons. Not only can a commons be well-governed but the rules which help to provide efficiency in resource use are also those that foster community and engagement. A formally government protected forest, for example, will fail to protect if the local users do not regard the rules as legitimate. In Hayekian terms legislation is not the same as law. Ostrom's work is about understanding how the laws of common resource governance evolve and how we may better conserve resources by making legislation that does not conflict with law.
Both Ostrom’s work on governance institutions and common-pool resources and Williamson’s work on governance institutions and the transactional boundary of the firm contribute meaningfully to our understanding of how individuals coordinate their plans and actions in decentralized, complex systems. (...)
Ostrom’s work highlights the ability of communities of individuals, using their local knowledge and taking into account their individual preferences and constraints, to develop governance institutions that enable beneficial outcomes to emerge. As I put it in my book on institutional design in electricity, "Given the pervasiveness of incomplete property rights, even in commercial transactions, how are we able to engage in so much mutually beneficial exchange? We achieve it through the design of institutions to govern the commons (Ostrom 1990, 2005). These institutions can specify use rights, means for enforcing those use rights, and penalties for violating those rights. Again, defining and enforcing use rights is costly, but institutional design to do so happens when its benefits are high enough, and the institutional form varies depending on the environment and context."
David Henderson, en el Wall Street Journal:
Based on her work, Ms. Ostrom proposed several rules for managing common-pool resources, which the Nobel committee highlights. Among them are that rules should clearly define who gets what, good conflict resolution methods should be in place, people's duty to maintain the resource should be proportional to their benefits, monitoring and punishing is done by the users or someone accountable to the users, and users are allowed to participate in setting and modifying the rules. Notice the absence of top-down government solutions. In her work on development economics, Ms. Ostrom concludes that top-down solutions don't help poor countries. Are you listening, World Bank?
In a 2006 article with Harini Nagendra, Ms. Ostrom wrote: "We conclude that simple formulas focusing on formal ownership, particularly one based solely on public [government] ownership of forest lands, will not solve the problem of resource use." Garth Owen-Smith, who helped solve the common-resource problem of elephants in Namibia by ensuring that local residents shared in the financial benefits from tourism and trophy hunting, drew explicitly on Ms. Ostrom's work. If locals benefit from having a resident population of elephants, they are much less likely to poach and more likely to stop other poachers.
Peter Boettke, Austrian Economists:
We can talk in more depth in the comments on Lin's great range of work from the analysis of local public economies to the idea of polycentricity, but I want to emphasize something that relates to her methodological stance and the research focus that should be of particular interest to readers of this blog. She is both a methodological individualist (rightly understood) and a spontaneous order theorists. In this regard, Lin Ostrom (and Vincent) have represented one manifestation of the research program in the sciences of man (praxeology) by Mises and Hayek in the 1940s. Actors of limited cognitive capabilities are studied for how the shape and our shaped by the social structures that emerge in a variety of situations to provide voluntary solutions to complex and difficult problems, and they do so in a way that promotes social cooperation under the division of labor. Read Human Action, chapter VIII, and Individualism: True and False, pp. 11-14 (in Individualism and Economic Order), and then look at Lin's work in Governing the Commons; Understanding Institutional Diversity; and the 3 volume McGinnis, edited volumes, Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis and I think you will see what I am talking about.
Peter Boettke, junto con Paul Dragos, de hecho escribió un libro sobre Ostrom y la Escuela de Bloomington: Challenging Institutional Analysis and Development: The Bloomington School
Actualización: Vernon Smith, Nobel en 2002, publica un artículo sobre Ostrom en Forbes (HT: MR):
Relentlessly, Ostrom has pursued answers to two questions:
(1) Since "everybody's property is nobody's property," how is it that there are so many cases where collectives of ordinary people with no education and with none of the economists' knowledge of "the tragedy of the commons," in fact discover ingenious rules (institutions) for taking the "tragedy" out of a productive resource they hold in common? If you read her book you will find among the diversity of examples a Swiss village whose people have private property in the plots they plant and harvest, but also have a communal summer meadow for grazing their cows. One rule, still enforced, dating back to 1517 states that "no citizen could send more cows to the alp than he could feed during the winter." Wintering a cow is costly, and this rule rations access to the commons by tying it to private property rights. Numerous other examples include Japanese lands held by thousands in common under governance structures that avoided "tragedy;" also ancient solutions to communal water and irrigation systems that create effective enough private rights conferring benefits and costs that constrain use. This should not be too surprising, because "property (originally propriety) rights" are about human rights and the challenge of defining them incentive-compatibly for mutual benefit.
(2) As a distinguished political-economic scientist she will be the first to tell you that there are also plenty of commons problems that represent institutional failures and fragilities; she has asked why, and what makes the difference between success and failure? The fragilities include inshore fisheries and groundwater basins with continuing commons problems; failures include salt water fisheries and irrigation systems hamstrung by the complexity of the rules.
Success is associated with clarity in the definition of and bounds on individual rights (and opportunities) to take action, and the geography of the commons; details for monitoring, operations, sanctions and mechanisms for conflict resolution emerge from within the collective and out of motivated people's direct experience with environmental context and each other. When too many of these problem-solving elements fail, the governance systems fail or require continuing attention to their fragility characteristics. A fatal source of disintegration is the inappropriate application of uninformed external authority, including intervention to prevent application of efficacious rules to political favorites. Also detrimental to good solutions is the OPM (other people's money) problem.
Actualización II: Paco Capella está enlazando más reacciones en los comentarios. Destaco la entrada de Mario Rizzo en Think Markets, lúcido como siempre:
Much of Ostrom’s work centers on developing and applying a broader conception of rationality than economists usually employ. The standard conception of rationality is not the rationality of real human beings but the rationality of cognitively-unlimited lightning-fast calculators. This is a purely imaginary construct. On the other hand, Olstrom’s “thick rationality” is the result of trial and error, use of relatively simple heuristics, employment of rules, and the embodiment of cultural norms. To reject standard, improbable rationality is not to reject rationality. It is rather to develop more sophisticated, and yet more realistic, models of rationality.
“Thick rationality” is a bottom-up phenomenon. It recognizes the importance of local knowledge and diverse approaches in the management of resources. For example, many top-down irrigation projects in developing countries have failed because they have concentrated on the physical aspects of water delivery. Ostrom believes that the institutional aspects are more important. Irrigation systems built by farmers themselves are often more efficient. They deliver more water, are better repaired, and result in higher farm productivity than those built by international agencies. Often these agencies take no notice of local customs, knowledge and incentive structures; the knowledge of the bureaucrat is inferior to the knowledge of the individuals on the ground.
También vale la pena el artículo de Paul Dragos en Reason, coautor del libro sobre la escuela de Bloomington que he citado arriba, aunque yerra al tildar de "desafío" a los liberales la tesis de que determinados "bienes colectivos" pueden proveerse de forma voluntaria, comunitaria, al margen de la empresa formal con ánimo de lucro.
“The presence of order in the world,” Ostrom writes, “is largely dependent upon the theories used to understand the world. We are not limited, however, to only the conceptions of order derived from the work of Smith and Hobbes.” We need a theory that “offers an alternative that can be used to analyze and prescribe a variety of institutional arrangements to match the extensive variety of collective goods in the world.” In response to that need, Ostrom has explored a new domain of the complex institutional reality of social life—the rich institutional arrangements that are neither states nor markets. These are for-profit or not-for-profit entities that produce collective goods for “collective consumption units.” Examples of such “consumption units” abound. They are small and large, multi-purpose or just focused on one good or service: suburban municipalities, neighborhood organizations, condominiums, churches, voluntary associations, or informal entities like those solving the common-pool resources dilemmas studied and documented by Ostrom around the world. Yet, once the functional principle behind them was the identified, the very diverse forms could be understood as part of a broader pattern, and the logic of the institutional process involved could be revealed with relative ease. They could be seen as a “third sector” related to but different from both “the state” and “the market”.