This project seeks to advance the understanding of the normative foundations and empirical realities of a self-governing citizenry. We aim to do this though fostering two main branches of academic research. The first involves critical examination of the evaluative framework used to assess the relative merits of self-governance and government at fostering social coordination and prosperity. Contemporary policy discourse ranging from environmental issues to financial regulation is prefaced on the idea that a monocentric state is the central means capable of correcting market imperfections. This project challenges this assumption by developing a competing normative framework of robust political economy to be applied to questions regarding the proper scale and scope of governance. The second branch of the project involves examining cases of self-governance in practice. This work will develop a better understanding of the empirical realities of self-governance in the myriad of ways in which humans solve political and economic problems. This project is crucial to continuing and deepening the research agenda outlined in the late Elinor Ostrom’s 2009 Nobel Prize Lecture, “Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Systems”. The academic work outlined here is capable of having a direct impact on public policy and civil discourse surrounding these issues. A central component of this project involves an ambitious civic curriculum initiative. The aim here is to integrate the values and concepts of self-governance into civic education. We will host high-visibility public debates on concrete public policy issues to showcase the academic work in broader venues and to wider academic audiences. We will then use these experiences to develop educational materials aimed at integrating the idea of self-governance into real-world questions of civic participation and policy capable of lasting influence beyond the life of this grant.