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Foundations of Common Pool Resource Management




Admissions requirements

Global Challenges: Prosperity is recommended but not required.


Content: Common pool resources (CPR) are shared among people who may not agree on how to manage them. Those disagreements underlie the many, harmful examples of CPR challenges that we face today, e.g., climate change, depletion of open-water fisheries, local air and water pollution, failures in public provision of education, health and/or transportation, and public and national security.
Students in this 100-level course will explore different management paradigms, successes and failures in managing CPRs using case studies, theoretical readings, experiments and in-class exercises. A major component of this class – the group project – will give students hands-on experience in understanding and addressing a CPR challenge.

Themes: Sustainability, politics, individual and group behavior, incentives, institutions

Course objectives

After completing this class, students will:

  • Be able to explain CPR challenges in terms of causes, impacts and potential responses.

  • Have a demonstrated mastery of a real world CPR challenge.

  • Have extended experience in working within a group, organizing and delivering their appropriate share of the group project.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through two-hour seminars. Students will be expected to participate in both large and small group discussions; present and defend their ideas within an academic setting; and take part in group projects. The instructor will facilitate and ensure the efficient running of the discussion, but students are responsible for its quality. Required reading must be read in advance of class.


Class participation: 20%
Homework and/or quizzes: 30%
Individual contribution to group presentation: 20%
Individual contribution to group report: 30%

NB: Group projects are an important part of this class. Individual grades on group work will be assessed by the instructor.
NB: Plagiarism software will be used to assess written assignments.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Ostrom, Gardner and Walker (1994). Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources. Ann Arbor Books


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


David Zetland (
Leiden University College, Room 4.37