UC Santa Barbara economist to present Ostrom Memorial Lecture

Economist Gary D. Libecap, a professor at the Bren School of Environmental Policy and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will present the second Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Memorial Lecture this week at IU Bloomington.

Libecap, whose research focuses on issues related to entrepreneurship and sustainable business practices, will speak at 4 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Moot Court Room of the IU Maurer School of Law.

Gary Libecap

Gary Libecap

The lecture, presented by the Ostrom Workshop at IU Bloomington, honors the memory of Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, longtime Indiana University professors who founded the workshop in 1973. Both died in June 2012. Elinor Ostrom received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009.

“We are excited to have Gary Libecap as our second Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Memorial lecturer. Libecap is one of the world’s leading scholars on the governance of natural resources,” said Lee Alston, Ostrom Workshop director and Ostrom Chair and professor of economics at IU Bloomington, who established the memorial lecture series.

Libecap’s lecture, “Environmental Externalities and Coasean Exchange,” will examine issues of natural-resource governance in light of classical economic literature and commentary by other scholars – Elinor Ostrom; Oliver Williamson, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize; and Ronald Coase, a  British economist and author who influenced Elinor Ostrom’s work and received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991.

In an abstract for the lecture, Libecap adds:

Because interest groups, politicians, and agency officials do not bear the full social costs of their actions, there is a second source of externality along with market failure — government failure. Potential distortions have been neglected in the literature. Vincent Ostrom’s work is a basis for understanding bureaucratic behavior. I then examine how the literature and policy have responded to Coase’s arguments, particularly with cap and trade schemes. I argue that neither has fully incorporated transaction costs in property rights definition and market design. This has important implications for market performance. I conclude with recommendations for further research.

Barry Weingast, the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, presented the inaugural Ostrom Memorial Lecture in February 2015 on “The Violence Trap: Why Democracy and Rule of Law Fail in the Developing World.”

Libecap joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara in 2006 after more than 20 years at the University of Arizona, where he developed and directed the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship program. At UC Santa Barbara, he played a critical role in developing the Eco-Entrepreneurship focus, a joint venture between the Bren School and the university’s School of Engineering. His current research is focused on legal, economic and policy aspects of water allocation in the western United States.

Video of Libecap’s Ostrom Memorial Lecture will be streamed live by the IU Maurer School of Law. A reception will follow the lecture in the law school’s faculty lounge.

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