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States, social capital and cooperation: looking back on 'Governing the Commons'

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Author(s): Denise L. Anthony | John L. Campbell

Journal: International Journal of the Commons
ISSN 1875-0281

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 284;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Collective goods | cooperation | Internet | social capital | states

ABSTRACT
This paper reflects on Elinor Ostrom’s classic book, Governing the Commons, and much work in sociology, political science and organization studies that has appeared since its publication. We do so in order to expand our understanding of the conditions under which cooperation occurs resulting in the production of collective goods. We explore two issues that were underdeveloped in her book that have subsequently received much attention. First, we discuss how states can facilitate cooperative behavior short of coercively imposing it on actors. Second, we discuss how social capital can facilitate or undermine cooperative behavior. In both cases we focus on the important mechanisms by which each one contributes to the development of cooperative behavior and collective goods. We conclude by extending our arguments to a brief analysis of one of the world’s newest and largest collective goods – the Internet.

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