76-Year-Old One Of Record Five Women To Win Nobel Prizes

elinor_ostrom.jpgElinor Ostrom, 76, known for her work on the management of common resources, is the first woman to win a Nobel in economics. She shares this year's prize with Oliver Williamson, 77, who pioneered the study of how and why companies structure themselves and how they resolve conflicts.

Monday's final prizes of 2009 capped a year in which a record five women won Nobels. And it was an exceptionally strong year for the United States, too. Eleven American citizens, some of them with dual nationality, were among the 13 Nobel winners, including U.S. President Barack Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it chose Ms. Ostrom and Mr. Williamson for work that “advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention.” They will share the $1.4-million (U.S.) prize.

Ms. Ostrom showed how common resources — forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands and irrigation systems — can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies.

“What we have ignored is what citizens can do and the importance of real involvement of the people involved — as opposed to just having somebody in Washington … make a rule,” Ms. Ostrom, a political scientist at Indiana University, said during a brief session with reporters in Bloomington, Ind.

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By Jeannine Aversa, Karl Ritter and Matt Moore

The Globe And Mail

Photo @ Indiana University