Michal Shur-Ofry (co-authored with Ofer Malcai)

Michal Shur-Ofry is a senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Law Faculty where she teaches several courses and seminars. She received her LL.B. (Magna cum Laude) and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her LL.M. from University College London. Her research focuses on intellectual property law and innovation theory, and on the interrelations between law and complexity. Her scholarship uses insights from complex systems theory to examine, explain and challenge various legal rules and conceptual frameworks. She authored numerous articles and one book in these areas, and her works have won various grants and prizes.

Designation: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Law Faculty
Institution: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Law Faculty
Paper: Collective Action and Social Contagion: Community Gardens as a Case Study
Abstract: "One of the most debated topics in legal and economic scholarship is whether and how the governance of common resources can be organized in a way that avoids excessive consumption and minimizes costs. According to the classical ""tragedy of the commons"" analysis the solutions to avoiding deterioration of common resources are either privatization or top-down regulation. Yet, Ostrom’s pioneering work forcefully demonstrated a third alternative, whereby individuals self-organize to form informal “Institutions for Collective Action” (ICAs), that manage common resources through collaboration. Using the case study of community gardens, this Article locates ICAs within the broader phenomenon of self-organization in complex systems, and inquires whether ICAs exhibit dynamics of social contagion and diffuse in accordance with patterns prevalent in complex systems. Applying quantitative methods derived from the field of complexity, we measure the temporal, spatial and spatiotemporal diffusion of community gardens in the city of Jerusalem. The results suggest that the spread of community gardens across the urban space displays patterns of self-organization and social contagion. More generally, these findings imply that ICAs may scale from the micro to the macro level in a bottom-up, self-expanding manner, while maintaining the advantages of local, commons-based, arrangements. This perspective carries significant policy implications, which we discuss."