Home Blog Polycentricity – 1972 Working paper by Vincent Ostrom

Polycentricity – 1972 Working paper by Vincent Ostrom

Photo of Vincent Ostrom
Vincent Ostrom

Vincent Ostrom’s 1972 working paper on “Polycentricity” is available in the Digital Library of the Commons, along with many other relevant papers: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/3763

“Application of the concept of polycentricity to the organization of government in metropolitan areas is examined. A polycentric order is defined as one where many elements are capable of making mutual adjustments for ordering relationships with one another within a general system of rules where each element acts with independence of other elements. Spontaneity, in the sense that individuals will be led to organize elements in a polycentric order, initiate self-enforcing arrangements and alter basic rules, is explored as an attribute of a polycentric order. Reliance upon polycentricity in the organization of various decision-making arenas is examined in relation to markets, judicial decision making, constitutional rule, selection of political leadership and formation of political coalitions and in the operation of a public service economy. …”