Mike Munger (Duke University) gave the lecture for the Charles S. Hyneman Lecture for the Department of Political Science, and co-sponsored by the Ostrom Workshop and the Tocqueville Program. The talk, titled “Polycentricity, Transaction Costs, and the Future of Local Government: An Ostrom Perspective” brought scholars and students from across the Bloomington campus and beyond.
The “sharing” economy raises questions about the notion of the Coasian firm. Changes in technology can make profound differences in the nature and implications of transaction costs. But important changes are on the horizon for the nature of local governance institutions and decentralized cooperation. Polycentricity involves the matching of the “size” of institutional action to the extent of the externality or public policy problem being addressed. New apps and blockchain arrangements are changing the nature of local government and the way we think about public goods.
Michael Munger is Professor in the Department of Political science at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics at Washington University in St. Louis, and taught in the Economics Department at Dartmouth College and the Political Science Departments at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before joining Duke in 1997 where he was Chair of the Political Science Department from 2000 through 2010. He is currently director of the interdisciplinary PPE Program at Duke. Professor Munger’s recent books include “Choosing in Groups” (coauthored with his son, Kevin Munger) and “The Thing Itself,” both in 2015. His research interests include the study of the morality of exchange and the working of the new “Middleman Economy.” Much of his recent work has been in philosophy, examining the concept of truly voluntary exchange, a concept for which he coined the term “euvoluntary.” His newest book addresses the sharing economy, and is entitled “Tomorrow 3.0.”