Polycentricity, Self-governance, and the Art & Science of Association

When considered as a unified project, the Ostroms’ themes of polycentricity, self-governance, and the art and science of association have strong intellectual roots and connections with Austrian economics. In this paper, we show the close relationship between the Ostroms and the Austrians. We then describe how contemporary Austrian economists can be inspired and can further the work of the Ostroms in the areas of civil societies and self-governing communities, the use of fieldwork and case studies, and public economies and coproduction. Although there are perceived tensions between the Ostroms and the Austrians, we contend that these can be reconciled and pursued as fruitful areas of research.