March 2, 2011

The Two Social Philosophies of Ostroms' Institutionalism

  • Paul Dragos Aligica

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
read more

Read this journal article at the Wiley Online Library

This article argues that the Ostroms' institutionalism has a dimension that is complex and profound enough to deserve to be considered a “social theory” or a “social philosophy.” The article pivots around the thesis that the “social philosophy” behind the Bloomington School's research agenda has in fact two facets that may or may not be consistent with each other. This article describes the main features of the two facets, offers a brief overview of the development of these ideas, and clarifies their relationship to Public Choice theory and alternative visions of public goods analysis, public administration, and governance. The argument goes further to raise the provocative question whether the two “social philosophies” involved in the approach undertaken by Elinor Ostrom and Vincent Ostrom are necessarily and inseparably connected with the rest of their research program.