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This article evaluates Ostrom’s classic on its adaption of any coercive system to local features and particularly the costs of monitoring and sanctioning. The most effective such systems come from below, building on local knowledge and trial-and-error learning. Ostrom surprisingly rarely includes either democracy per se or existing political and religious culture among the conditions to which the governing rules must be congruent. Yet her concerns cannot be reduced to an anti-state stance. She specifically argues for “nesting” local decision-making groups within larger structures such as states that can provide the resources, including coercion, that make local decision-making effective.


Mansbridge, Jane. "Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons: A Discussion of Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action." Perspective in Politics 8.2 (2010): 590-593.