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Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate, 1933-2012

  • Professor in the School of Public and Environmental AffairsHeadshot
  • Senior research director of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
  • Distinguished Professor and Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences

Ostrom received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences—the first woman to be so honored. Her groundbreaking research demonstrates that ordinary people are capable of creating rules and institutions that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources.

Celebration of Ostrom’s remarkable life

Nobel tribute to Elinor Ostrom

Description of the video:

Elinor Ostrom, Economic Sciences, 2009

  • Girls at Elinor Ostrom's high school were discouraged from studying advanced maths. 
  • She was turned away by the college of economics. Ostrom's degrees are actually in political science.
  • Her PhD study of shared water rights in LA set the stage for her lifetime's work in common pool resources.
  • A fellow economist boiled Ostrom's approach down to a simple adage: "A resource arrangement that works in practice can work in theory." - Ostrom's Law
  • Studying systems around the world, she collected strategies for managing forests, pastures and water locally.
  • She then developed lab experiments to show how these rules could be applied more generally.
  • Elinor Ostrom received the 2009 Prize in Economic Sciences for her analysis of economic governance.
  • She was the first woman to receive the Prize in Economic Sciences.
  • Elinor Ostrom's work gives us perspectives and tools to better manage our resources around the corner or around the world.
  • "For the greatest benefit to mankind." - Alfred Nobel