Daniel H. Cole

Daniel H. Cole

Robert H. McKinney Professor of Law; Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs; Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow; Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science

  • A.B., Occidental College 1980
  • A.M., University of Chicago 1981
  • J.D., Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College 1986
  • J.S.M., Stanford Law School 1991
  • J.S.D., Stanford Law School 1996
  • B506 Climate Law and Policy
  • Environmental Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • Land Use
  • Law and Economics
  • Natural Resource Law
  • Cum laude graduate of Northwestern Law School, Lewis and Clark College, with a certificate in environmental and natural resources law
  • Earned JSM and JSD degrees from Stanford Law School
  • Joined the Maurer School of Law faculty in 2011; appointed Robert H. McKinney Professor of Law in 2020
  • Scholarship focuses on intersection of law, economics, and politics of property, natural resources, and related fields
  • Also an expert on Poland and Polish law
  • Co-prinicipal investigator, $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant

Daniel H. Cole, an internationally recognized environmental law and economics scholar, joined the Indiana Law faculty in 2011. Most of his writings are at the intersection of the law, economics, and politics of property, natural resources law, land use, and environmental protection. He has also written extensively about Poland and Polish law. Cole is the author of seven books and more than forty articles. His works have published in England, France, Italy, and China, as well as the United States.

An award-winning teacher, Cole has taught courses including climate law and policy, environmental law, international environmental law, land use, law and economics, natural resources law, property, and property theory.

Cole is a founding member of both the Midwest Law and Economics Association and the Society for Environmental Law and Economics. He is a Life Member of Clare Hall (College for Advanced Study), Cambridge, and has served as a Visiting Scholar in the Faculties of Law and Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. In the fall of 2001, Cole was the John S. Lehmann Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. Before moving to Bloomington, he was the R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In 2020 he was named Robert H. McKinney Professor of Law.

In the media
Selected Works


  • ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE STUDY OF THE COMMONS (co-edited with Blake Hudson and Jonathan Rosenbloom). New York: Routledge, 2019.
  • ELINOR OSTROM AND THE BLOOMINGTON SCHOOL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, 4 VOLs (Lexington Books, 2015-18) (co-edited with Michael D. McGinnis)
  • INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF THE COMMONS (Edward Elgar 2019) (co-edited with Michael D. McGinnis)
  • PROPERTY IN LAND AND OTHER RESOURCES (co-edited with Elinor Ostrom) (Lincoln Institute, 2012)
  • NATURAL RESOURCES LAW (casebook, with Jan Laitos, Sandra Zellmer and Mary Wood) (West 2006)
  • PRINCIPLES OF LAW & ECONOMICS (co-authored with Peter Z. Grossman) (Prentice-Hall 2004) Second edition forthcoming (Kluwer/Aspen) 2011
  • THE END OF A NATURAL MONOPOLY: DEREGULATION AND COMPETITION IN THE ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY (co-edited with Peter Z. Grossman) (JAI Press 2003) (now published by Routledge)
  • POLLUTION AND PROPERTY: COMPARING OWNERSHIP INSTITUTIONS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (Cambridge University Press, 2002); Chinese translation (Cambridge University Press and Peking University Press, 2010)

Selected Articles

  • The Variety of Property Systems and Rights in Natural Resources, in PROPERTY IN LAND AND OTHER RESOURCES 37-66 (D.H. Cole and E. Ostrom, eds., 2012) (with Elinor Ostrom)
  • Institutional Analysis for New Governance Scholars, 21 PUBLIC MANAGEMENT REVIEW 890 (2019)(with Elizabeth Baldwin and Tingjia Chen).
  • Combining the IAD and SES Frameworks, 13 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE COMMONS 1 (2019) (with G. Epstein and M.D. McGinnis).
  • Environmental Instrument Choice in a Non-linear World, 8 JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS AND POLICY 65 (2019) (with Kathy Gjerde and Peter Grossman).
  • Grandfathering, 13 REVIEW OF ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS AND POLICY 23 (2019) (with Maria Damon, Elinor Ostrom, and Thomas Sterner under FORMAS grant).
  • Law and social norms in the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework, 13 JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS 829-847 (2017).
  • The Polycentric Turn: A Case Study of Kenya’s Evolving Legal Regime for Irrigation Waters, 57 NATURAL RESOURCES JOURNAL 101-137 (2017) (with Stefan Carpenter and Elizabeth Baldwin).
  • The Problem of Shared Irresponsibility in International Climate Law, in DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES IN INTERNATIONAL LAW (André Nollkaemper and Dov Jacobs, eds, Cambridge University Press 2015), 290.
  • Advantages of a Polycentric Approach to Climate Change Policy, 5 NAT. CLIMATE CHANGE 114 (2015).
  • Contextualizing the Influence of Social Norms, Collective Action on Social-Ecological Systems, 6 J. NAT. RES. POLICY RES. 259-264 (2014) (co-authored with Tom Evans).
  • The Law and Economics Approach to Property, 3 PROPERTY L. REV. 212 (2014).
  • Digging Deeper into Hardin’s Pasture: The Complex Institutional Structure of ‘The Tragedy of the Commons,’ 10 J. INST. ECON. 353 (2014) (co-authored with Graham Epstein and Michael McGinnis).
  • Learning from Lin: Lessons and Cautions from the Natural Commons for the Knowledge Commons, in GOVERNING THE KNOWLEDGE COMMONS 45 (B. Frischmann, M. Madison & K. Strandberg, eds, Oxford University Press 2014).
  • Law, Politics, and Cost-Benefit Analysis, 64 ALA. L. REV. 55-89 (2012).
  • Property Creation by Regulation: Rights to Clean Air and Rights to Pollute, in PROPERTY IN LAND AND OTHER RESOURCES 125-154 (D.H. Cole and E. Ostrom, eds., 2012).
  • Institutions Matter! Why the Herder Problem Is Not a Prisoners' Dilemma, 69 THEORY & DECISION 219-231 (2010) (with Peter Z. Grossman).
  • Protecting Private Property with Constitutional Judicial Review: A Social Welfare Approach, 5 REVIEW OF LAW AND ECONOMICS 233-250 (2009) (with Peter Z.Grossman).
  • Climate Change and Collective Action, 61 CURRENT LEGAL PROBLEMS 229-264 (2009).
  • The Stern Review and Its Critics: Implications for the Theory and Practice of Benefit-Cost Analysis, 48 NAT. RESOURCES J. 53- 90 (2008) (peer reviewed).
  • La complexité choix d'un régime de appropration en matière de protection environnementale, in ACTES DE LA CONFERENCE RESOURCES FONCIERS 75 -88 (Max Falque, Henri Lamotte, and Jean-François Saglio, eds., 2007).
  • Climate Change, Adaptation, and Development, 26 UCLA JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND POLICY 1-19 (2007 Evan Frankel Program Symposium Issue: Coping with Global Warming).
  • Best Practice Standards for Regulatory Benefit-Cost Analysis, 23 RESEARCH IN LAW AND ECONOMICS 1-47 (2007) Reprinted in Applied Benefit-Cost Analysis (Andrew Schmitz and Richard O. Zerbe, eds, 2008).
  • Kelo's Legacy, 37 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REPORTER 10540-10546 (June 2007).
  • Political Institutions, Judicial Review, and Private Property: A Comparative Institutional Analysis, 15 SUPREME COURT ECONOMIC REVIEW 141-182 (2007) (peer reviewed).
  • Uncertainty, Insurance and the Learned Hand Formula, 5 LAW, PROBABILITY AND RISK 1-18 (2006) (with Peter Z. Grossman and Reed Cearley).
  • When is Command-and-Control Efficient? Institutions, Technology, and the Comparative Efficiency of Alternative Regulatory Regimes for Environmental Protection, 1999 WISCONSIN LAW REVIEW 887-938 (1999) (with Peter Z. Grossman).
  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Economics
  • Property
  • Polish Law
  • Institutional Analysis of Social and Ecological Systems