Ostrom and Williamson Split Nobel

Monday, October 12, 2009

The last of the Nobel prizes in Economics has been awarded today to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson.

Ostrom, a 76-year-old Political Science professor at Bloomington's Indiana University, won half the $1.4 million prize for her analysis of economic governance and development of a field called "the commons." Ostrom developed a theory that common users of resources like pastures, woods and lakes can make decisions on their own effectively, rather than turning to central authorities to regulate them.

Williamson won the other half of the Nobel for his work at the University of California at Berkeley on conflict resolution in firms. Williamson, 77, argues markets represent alternative governance structures that are well suited to resolve conflicts when competition is limited.

Ostrom is the first woman to win the Economics Nobel since it was founded in 1968, the Associated Press reported. She's the fifth woman to win a Nobel this year, a Nobel record.

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