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Elinor Ostrom Wins Nobel for Common(s) Sense

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Korten, Fran
Journal: YES! Magazine
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5940
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): Nobel Prize
Ostrom, Elinor
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Abstract: "Elinor Ostrom was an unusual choice for the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. For one thing, she is the first woman to receive the prize. Her Ph.D. is in political science, not economics (though she minored in economics, collaborates with many economists, and considers herself a political economist). But what makes this award particularly special is that her work is about cooperation, while standard economics focuses on competition. Ostrom’s seminal book, 'Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action,' was published in 1990. But her research on common property goes back to the early 1960s, when she wrote her dissertation on groundwater in California. In 1973 she and her husband, Vincent Ostrom, founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. In the intervening years, the Workshop has produced hundreds of studies of the conditions in which communities self-organize to solve common problems. Ostrom currently serves as professor of political science at Indiana University and senior research director of the Workshop. Fran Korten, YES! Magazine’s publisher, spent 20 years with the Ford Foundation making grants to support community management of water and forests in Southeast Asia and the United States. She and Ostrom drew on one another’s work as this field of knowledge developed. Fran interviewed her friend and colleague Lin Ostrom shortly after Ostrom received the Nobel Prize."

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