The tragedy of the commons is one of the most pervasive and insidious problems in social science. Forests, fisheries, clean water, and greenhouse gases, for example can each at as open-access resources fraught with difficulties related to the tragedy of the commons. According to both economic theory and numerous case studies, many of the commons in the international arena and in developing countries are particularly difficult to manage, due to weak ownership rights, unpredictable dynamics, and widely dispersed resources (Ostrom 2009).

Areas of Focus: Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.