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New program director with IU’s Ostrom Workshop ready to dive into new academic year

Sept. 21, 2016

A director has been named for a new program at the Ostrom Workshop that will use governance as a lens to understand and address societal problems surrounding the use and management of the natural environment.

Dean Lueck


Meet Dean Lueck, who will direct the workshop’s new Program on Governance of Natural Resources. He comes to IU from the University of Arizona, where he was professor of agricultural and resource economics. He took the new role at IU on July 1.

Lueck said he was drawn to the Bloomington campus by both the legacy and the future of the Ostrom Workshop.

"The workshop is a unique organization that focuses on institutions and governance, and has had a long history studying natural resources as a part of that. I was familiar with scholars in various parts of the university, including in economics, law, the Kelley School and SPEA," he said. "So the chance to direct a focused program within the Ostrom Workshop and at IU was very attractive to me given my own work, which focuses on the economics of natural resources, law, organizations and institutions. It’s literally a perfect fit."

The Ostrom Workshop was founded in 1973 by Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. Elinor, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences, died in June 2012. Vincent died shortly after. In August 2014, Lee Alston was named the new director of the workshop.

"We are thrilled to attract Dean Lueck as our first director of our Program on Governance of Natural Resources. His reputation will enhance the reputation of the workshop," Alston said. "Dean has incredible interdisciplinary breadth and will enable us to broaden our reach to graduate students and faculty across IU."                                   

Lueck said he has several plans for the new program he’ll direct.

"Our goal is to make this program the preeminent scholarly focal point for the analysis of institutions and natural resources," he said. "The workshop already has a strong tradition that will continue with visiting scholars and post-docs and supporting graduate students from different disciplines. And what I intend to do has several components."

Those components include: Hosting additional natural resource scholars within the workshop’s weekly colloquium; creating an annual academic symposium that will kick off this fall; and hosting an annual lecture on environmental public policy that will attract both scholars and members of the public.

"We will also develop a group of workshop faculty affiliates who do research in natural resources, and will connect with new faculty and students as well," he said. "The idea is to create a network of scholars at the workshop, so the workshop will be the focal node on campus where scholars or students of natural resources will want to go to collaborate and learn."

Lueck said he’s also hoping to link up with other similarly-minded organizations across the world.

"For example, I was just in Norway spending time with a law and natural resource working group there at the University of Oslo, and I’d love to see about potential collaboration there to examine the economic and legal implications of governance in the Arctic," he said. "And I’m really interested in collaboration with some innovative non-governmental organizations that work in conservation. In Montana, the American Prairie Reserve is an NGO that works to buy and lease land to establish a continuous landscape to reintroduce indigenous populations of wildlife. Those folks could learn from the workshop, and our scholars could learn from them."

Lueck will teach a class on environmental and natural resource economics in the Department of Economics in the fall.

Lueck received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Gonzaga University, master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Montana and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington.

He’s served as a visiting professor of law and economics at the University of Oslo in Norway, senior lecturer at the European School on New Institutional Economics in France, a John M. Olin Faulty Fellow in the Yale Law School and a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the Cornell Law School.

He is the co-author, with Douglas W. Allen, of "The Nature of the Farm" (MIT Press 2003) and a contributing co-editor, with Karen Bradshaw, of "Wildfire Policy: Law and Economics Perspectives" (Resources for the Future Press, 2012).

Prior to his academic career he was a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service in McCall, Idaho.

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