In The News

First woman to win Nobel prize in economics passes away

First woman to win Nobel prize in economics passes away

THE death has taken place of Elinor Ostrom who was the first woman to win a Nobel prize in economics. She was 78.

Dr. Ostrom was a political economist who taught for most of her career at Indiana University in the United States.

She had made her reputation by challenging what had become the dominant view that natural resources could only be managed and conserved by governments or businesses.

Dr. Ostrom set about proving that this approach was wrong and instead said that communities can manage natural resources as well as or better than governments.

To support her view, Dr. Ostrom studied diverse groups — including cheese makers in Switzerland and fishermen in Japan. She said that by allowing communities who were using resources to also manage them could increase the chances of the resources being preserved.

She further argued that complex problems such as global warming are best tackled by adopting an approach which involved working on multiple levels.

Dr. Ostrom won the Nobel prize in 2009. She shared the $1.4million with Oliver Williamson of the University of California, Berkeley.

To view an interview in which Elinor Ostrom discusses her life, click here.


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