Download the workshop programme

Markets have been associated with polycentricity since Michael Polanyi formulated the concept, and this connection was at the heart of the Bloomington School’s analysis of competition in public service industries. Despite this long history, markets have received surprisingly limited attention by scholars of polycentricity during its renaissance over the past 20 years. And in the course of this renaissance, very little attention has focused on firms and other kinds of corporate entities.

The aim of the WINIR Workshop on Polycentricity, Markets and Firms is to advance concepts related to polycentricity (multiple decision-making centres, patterns of competitive and cooperative interactions, overarching set of norms and rules, multiplicity of evaluative criteria, and so on) to address conceptual and empirical questions pertaining to both the design and evolution of markets and the nature and governance of firms. The workshop will also address more general questions related to the scope and limits of centralization and decentralization in market economies.

Scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds interested in advancing theory and empirical research on these topics are welcome.

The workshop took place online (Zoom).

Click the paper titles for abstracts and author bios.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

13:30-18:00 GMT (check your time zone)

13:30-13:40   Welcome & Introduction

Dustin Garrick (University of Waterloo, Canada) & David Gindis (University of Hertfordshire, UK)

13:40-15:00   Session 1 – The Challenge of Polycentricity

Chair: David Gindis

Dan Cole (University of Indiana Bloomington, USA), "Problems for Polycentric Governance Theory"

Dmitry Ismagilov (King's College London, UK), "Degrees of Polycentricity, or How Polycentric Can a Governance Regime Be? The Case of the Village Communities in the Russian Empire after the Emancipation

15:10-16:30   Session 2 – Polycentricity and Comparative Institutional Analysis

Chair: Pavel Kuchar

Sarah Moore (George Mason University, USA), "Systems of Anarchy: Analyzing the Dynamics of Violence and Coercion within Opposite Institutional Contexts"

Vlad Tarko (University of Arizona, USA), "Polycentric Status Contests"

16:40-18:00   Session 3 – Polycentricity and Market Institutions

Chair: Dustin Garrick

Pavel Kuchar (King's College London, UK), "Why Should We Care About the Joint Production of Instruments of Interpretation?"

Erwin Dekker (George Mason University, USA), "How to Draw Boundaries Around Markets: A Knowledge Commons Perspective"

18:00-18:30   Session 4 – Networking


Thursday 9 December 2021

13:40-18:00 GMT (check your time zone)

13:40-15:00   Session 5 – Polycentricity, Markets and the Environmental Commons

Chair: Dan Cole

Hita Unnikrishnan (University of Sheffield, UK) & Harini Nagendra (Azim Premji University, India), "Polycentricity, Perception, and Markets: Governance of Blue Urban Commons in Colonial Mysore"

Dustin Garrick (University of Waterloo, Canada), "Many Visible Hands: How Polycentric Governance Shapes the Evolution of Water Markets"

15:10-16:30   Session 6 – Polycentricity and the Firm

Chair: Dustin Garrick

Per Bylund (Oklahoma State University, USA), "Market Pioneership and the Firm as Decentralized Production"

David Gindis (University of Hertfordshire, UK), Pavel Kuchar (King's College London, UK) & Dan Cole (University of Indiana Bloomington, USA), "Toward a Polycentric Perspective on the Business Corporation"

16:40-18:00   Session 7 – Discussion: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead

Chair: David Gindis



This is event is free and open to all. Click here to register.

To register you will need to sign in to Zoom. If you have never registered with Zoom, you will be prompted to do so (the Zoom account is free). To join the event you will need to sign in using the same email address.

Please address inquiries to the workshop organisers: Dustin Garrick ( and David Gindis ( 

For technical problems (at the registration stage or when joining the event on the day), please contact Massimo Giannuzzi ( or call +44(0)7795 257849 on the day).