Promoted to curated. Even though this post is quite old, I think it’s still the best choice to give it the attention it deserves. Here are my full thoughts:
It takes a set of abstract ideas in the canon of LW, and tries to actually apply them to various real-life systems, with a general mindset of curiosity and openness.
It provides a set of external resources and sources that help us put some of the LessWrong content into perspective in the larger world.
It is generally written in an engaging way, and does a good job at illustrating it’s points
Opportunities for improvement:
I would have liked a bit more context on the book you are using as the primary source, and also analysis of how accurate we should expect it to be. Should other people on the site read the book as well?
I think the structure could have been improved by putting concrete takeaways and lessons learned more at the end, and shortening the summary of the examples a bit.
Overall, I was quite happy about this post, and so decided to curate it.
As for the accuracy of the book: There’s not much quantitative data overall. The mode that Ostrom operates in is rather to show a lot of examples, then try to make some (pretty lightweight) generalizations. The last chapter introduces a model for researching coordination problems, but once again, it’s nothing quantitative, more like a set of hints about what things and relationships to look at.
All in all, the book may not be very useful to get exact numbers but it may help to generate more conceptual surface area, give more structure to the problem of coordination failures beyond the naive “tragedy of the commons” parables.
Ostrom seems to have a very good reputation from what I know of her. You could put her in the same grouping as James Buchanan (VP Political Econ./Public Choice) and Armarte Sen. Both recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics.