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Which governance arrangements best help us manage and preserve natural resources? Markets, states, or something in between? In this episode of the Governance Podcast, Professor Dominic Parker of the University of Wisconsin, Madison discusses his latest research on comparative institutions and the commons.

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The Guest

Dominic Parker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at UW-Madison. His research fields include environmental and resource economics, law and economics, development, and institutional economics. Specifically, he is interested in the  role that property rights and governance play in affecting the extent to which societies and individuals benefit from their natural resource endowments. Topics include conflict minerals, oil boomtowns, private land conservation, commercial fishery reform, and the economies of indigenous communities.

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1:15: Which governance arrangements have you found to be most effective in managing natural resources? The government, the market or something in between?

2:49: Which governance arrangements best promote wildlife conservation? How do the US and UK differ it this regard?

9:20: Is the government always the preferred source of governance over large territories where it’s too costly for social actors to contract together?

18:45: How do you compare the performance of the government and private sector in the management of oil resources?

25:25: What is the tragedy of the anti-commons?

26:05: How do you determine the benefits versus the costs of government ownership of natural resources?

33:36: Let’s take the example of a dictatorship where there is no institutional diversity in resource ownership and elites don’t share oil rents back with the population. Does government ownership still make sense despite its efficiency benefits, or is there value to having institutional diversity in principle?

38:12: What implications does your work have for addressing climate change? The language of action in the scientific and policy communities tends to be very anti-market. Does this conversation require more nuance or can we safely say that the market won’t be an option?

44:54: Can people privately contract among themselves to reduce emissions when government policies fall short?

45:58: What is the legacy of the Ostroms? Did Elinor Ostrom’s work successfully move us beyond markets and states?