Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Nobel Prize in economics goes to ...

Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University and Oliver Williamson of UC-Berkeley. Ostrom's selection is unique for two reasons: she is the first woman to be recognized for the economics Nobel plus her academic affiliation is actually political science, not economics (true confession: I never had heard of her until the prize was announced yesterday). Ostrom is best known for her work on how resources such as pastureland and forests are shared by individuals in agrarian socieities; at least that's what the NYT and WSJ say. Williamson has long been rumored as a top-level contender for the award; he is known for his work examining behavior and incentives inside organizations as well as explaining the structure of organizations (e.g., should an electric utility with coal-burning generating plants own the coal mines that supply them?).

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