Ostrom won the Prize in Economic Sciences together with Oliver Williamson for their work in economic governance.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Professor Ostrom, who teaches at Indiana University, "for her analysis of economic governance," saying her work had demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by groups using it.
A leading scholar on common pool resources
Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars in the study of common pool resources. Her work emphasizes how humans and ecosystems interact to provide for long run sustainable resource yields.
Forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands, and irrigation systems, among others, all exhibit the characteristics of common pool resources and Ostrom's work has highlighted how humans have created diverse institutional arrangements over natural resources for thousands of years that have prevented ecosystem collapse.
Carl Folke, Science Director at the Resilience Centre, praises Ostrom's work.
- Elinor Ostrom has long recognized the importance of collaborations across many disciplines for improved stewardship of the commons and our life-supporting environment. Her work on governing the commons illustrates the significance of collective action and trust and provides hope for the environmental challenges facing humanity, he says.
Laureate of several awards
Ostrom received her Ph.D. in political science from UCLA in 1965. She is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and past president of the American Political Science Association. In 1999 she became the first woman to receive the prestigious Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science and in 2005 received the James Madison Award by the American Political Science Association. In 2008, she received the William H Riker Prize in political science, and became the first woman to do so. In 2009, she received the Tisch Civic Engagement Research Prize from the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.
Watch Ostrom explain the concept thinking behind the tragedy of commons and how to go beyond it.