A polycentric approach for coping with climate change
AbstractThis paper proposes an alternative approach to addressing the complex problems of climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The author, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, argues that single policies adopted only at a global scale are unlikely to generate sufficient trust among citizens and firms so that collective action can take place in a comprehensive and transparent manner that will effectively reduce global warming. Furthermore, simply recommending a single governmental unit to solve global collective action problems is inherently weak because of free-rider problems. For example, the Carbon Development Mechanism (CDM) can be ‘gamed’ in ways that hike up prices of natural resources and in some cases can lead to further natural resource exploitation. Some flaws are also noticeable in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) program. Both the CDM and REDD are vulnerable to the free-rider problem. As an alternative, the paper proposes a polycentric approach at various levels with active oversight of local, regional, and national stakeholders. Efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions are a classic collective action problem that is best addressed at multiple scales and levels. Given the slowness and conflict involved in achieving a global solution to climate change, recognizing the potential for building a more effective way of reducing green house gas emissions at multiple levels is an important step forward. A polycentric approach has the main advantage of encouraging experimental efforts at multiple levels, leading to the development of methods for assessing the benefits and costs of particular strategies adopted in one type of ecosystem and compared to results obtained in other ecosystems. Building a strong commitment to find ways of reducing individual emissions is an important element for coping with this problem, and having others also take responsibility can be more effectively undertaken in small- to medium-scale governance units that are linked together through information networks and monitoring at all levels. This paper was prepared as a background paper for the 2010 World Development Report on Climate Change.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5095.
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases; Environmental Economics&Policies; Climate Change Economics; Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Environment and Energy Efficiency;
Other versions of this item:
- Elinor Ostrom, 2014. "A Polycentric Approach For Coping With Climate Change," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 71-108, May.
- Elinor Ostrom, 2008. "A Polycentric Approach For Coping With Climate Change," CEMA Working Papers 578, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- NEP-ALL-2009-11-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2009-11-07 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2009-11-07 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-RES-2009-11-07 (Resource Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Larry Lohmann, 2008. "Carbon Trading, Climate Justice and the Production of Ignorance: Ten examples," Development, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 359-365, September.
- James Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2004.
"A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness,"
- James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2006. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2006-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Cox, J. & Friedman, D. & Gjerstad, S., 2006. "A Trackable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1181, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, .
"Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocitys,"
IEW - Working Papers
040, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
- Fehr, Ernst & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2008.
"Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons,"
IZA Discussion Papers
3625, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ernst Fehr & Andreas Leibbrandt, 2008. "Cooperativeness and Impatience in the Tragedy of the Commons," IEW - Working Papers 378, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
- Stavins, Robert, 1997. "Policy Instruments for Climate Change: How Can National Governments Address a Global Problem?," Discussion Papers dp-97-11, Resources For the Future.
- Edella Schlager & William Blomquist & Shui Yan Tang, 1994. "Mobile Flows, Storage, and Self-Organized Institutions for Governing Common-Pool Resources," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(3), pages 294-317.
- Corbera, Esteve & Brown, Katrina, 2008. "Building Institutions to Trade Ecosystem Services: Marketing Forest Carbon in Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1956-1979, October.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- 657. Ostrom: A polycentric approach for coping with climate change
by admin in Reflections on Gardenworld Politics on 2011-02-18 04:41:34
- The grand philosopher of the Commons: in memory of Elinor Ostrom
by Matthew Rimmer, ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor in Intellectual Property at Australian National University in The Conversation on 2012-06-13 05:39:53
- Coleman, Eric A., 2010. "Implications of external validity for research on polycentric and complex adaptive systems," IAMO Forum 2010: Institutions in Transition â Challenges for New Modes of Governance 52713, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
- Wang, Qiang & Chen, Xi, 2013. "Rethinking and reshaping the climate policy: Literature review and proposed guidelines," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 469-477.
- Liverani, Andrea, 2009. "Climate change and individual behavior : considerations for policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5058, The World Bank.
- Forsyth, Tim & Evans, Natalie, 2013. "What is Autonomous Adaption? Resource Scarcity and Smallholder Agency in Thailand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 56-66.
- Gregor Schwerhoff, 2013. "Leadership and International Climate Cooperation," Working Papers 2013.97, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Leonardo Meeus & Erik Delarue, 2011. "Mobilizing Cities towards a Low Carbon Future: Tambourines, Carrots and Sticks," RSCAS Working Papers 2011/04, European University Institute.
- William M. Shobe & Dallas Burtraw, 2012.
"Rethinking Environmental Federalism In A Warming World,"
Climate Change Economics (CCE),
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(04), pages 1250018-1-1.
- Shobe, William M. & Burtraw, Dallas, 2012. "Rethinking Environmental Federalism in a Warming World," Discussion Papers dp-12-04, Resources For the Future.
- William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw, 2012. "Rethinking Environmental Federalism in a Warming World," Working Papers 2012-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
- Werner Güth & Lauri Sääksvuori, 2010. "The Provision of Public Goods with Positive Group Interdependencies," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-022, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- Osberghaus, Daniel & Finkel, Elyssa & Pohl, Max, 2010.
"Individual adaptation to climate change: The role of information and perceived risk,"
ZEW Discussion Papers
10-061, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Osberghaus, Daniel & Finkel, Elyssa & Pohl, Max, 2010. "Individual Adaptation to Climate Change: The Role of Information and Perceived Risk," MPRA Paper 26569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Goulder, Lawrence H. & Stavins, Robert N., 2010.
"Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies,"
- Lawrence H. Goulder & Robert N. Stavins, 2011. "Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of US Climate Policy, pages 109-121 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lawrence H. Goulder & Robert N. Stavins, 2010. "Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," NBER Working Papers 16123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lawrence H. Goulder & Robert N. Stavins, 2010. "Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," Working Papers 2010.98, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Goulder, Lawrence H. & Stavins, Robert N., 2010. "Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," Working Paper Series rwp10-028, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Lawrence Goulder & Robert Stavins, 2010. "Interactions Between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," Discussion Papers 09-027, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Goulder, Lawrence H. & Stavins, Robert Norman, 2010. "Interactions Between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," Scholarly Articles 4448886, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
- Sterner, Thomas & Damon, Maria, 2011. "Green growth in the post-Copenhagen climate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7165-7173.
- Giamporcaro, Stephanie, 2011. "A Market for Environmentally Responsible Investment? Identifying Obstacles and Enablers of Commodification of Environmental Risks in the South African Investment Industry," Discussion Papers dp-11-01-efd, Resources For the Future.
- Johannes Urpelainen, 2013. "A model of dynamic climate governance: dream big, win small," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 107-125, May.
- Arif Rahman & Aneel Salman, 2013. "A District Level Climate Change Vulnerability Index of Pakistan," CEECC Working Paper 2013:05, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
- Pierre Garello, 2011. "Simple Rules for a Complex World: Is It So?," CAE Working Papers 89, Aix-Marseille Université, CERGAM.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.