Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to achieve a Nobel Prize in Economics. She shares this year’s prize with Oliver Williamson. That’s forty years of prizes gone by. Both winners research areas that are somewhat out of the mainstream. Ostrom studies the problem of the commons. Williamson researches governance issues. Both are relevant areas given the state of the world’s resources and that of financial and economic markets.
The award was a “great surprise… I’m still a little bit in shock,” she said by phone at the news conference announcing the prize.
Ostrom, a professor of political science at Indiana University, was praised “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons.”
Ostrom’s work shows that local communities often manage common resources — such as woods, lakes and fish stocks — better on their own than when outside authorities impose rules, the committee said.
“Bureaucrats sometimes do not have the correct information, while citizens and users of resources do,” she said to explain the significance of her work.
The committee highlighted her research on a dam in Nepal as an example, saying her research has moved analysis of nonmarket institutions “from the fringe of economic analysis to the very center.”
Marginal Revolution has an interesting thread up on Williamson’s work. Here’s a link to Williamson’s most recent work that supports earlier work done by Ronald Coase. More information on both winners can be found here at the NY Times.
I’m just relieved Fama didn’t win yet again and this is a bit of a slap at his EMH too!
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has an interview with laureate Ostrom on their site called: Rethinking Institutional Analysis: Interviews with Vincent and Elinor Ostrom which is really interesting.