Ostrom flabbergasted to get news of winning Nobel Prize

10:49, October 13, 2009      

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Elinor Ostrom (L) talks with Indiana University President Michael McRobbie before a news conference to celebrate winning the Nobel Prize in economics at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, October 12, 2009. Ostrom, a U.S. academic who proved that communities can trump state control and corporations became the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics on Monday, sharing it with an expert on conflict resolution.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Elinor Ostrom, a professor at Indiana University, said Monday Morning that she was "flabbergasted" to get the news that she received the Nobel Prize. "It was a fantastic surprise and a thrilling one," she said. "I'm very appreciative."

"This is fantastic news," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie." Professor Ostrom has won widespread recognition from around the world for her very original research and scholarship. For her to win the Nobel Prize is fully appropriate."

Ostrom is the first women to win Nobel Prize in the economic sciences category, which has been awarded since 1968. Her award recognizes her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons.

Ostrom said she knows Oliver Williamson, her co-recipient, and is pleased to share the 1.4-million-dollar award with him.

"Elinor Ostrom has challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized," the Academy said in announcing the prize.

"Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes and groundwater basins, Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories.

"She observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, and she characterizes the rules that promote successful outcomes." The Academy said.


An undated handout image from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences shows Elinor Ostrom. Ostrom and Oliver Williamson of the United States have won the 2009 Nobel Economics Prize for their work on the organisation of cooperation in economic governance.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Ostrom is the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.

In 1973 she co-founded The Workshop in Political Theory and Public Policy at Indiana University with her husband, Vincent Ostrom. She has authored many books in the fields of organizational theory, political science, and public administration.

In addition to her positions at Indiana University, Ostrom is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University.


Elinor Ostrom addresses the media during a news conference to celebrate winning the Nobel Prize in economics at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, October 12, 2009.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Ostrom received her B.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1954; her M.A. at UCLA in 1962; and her Ph.D. at UCLA in 1965.

McRobbie said during the press conference, "we could not be more proud of her and every person at Indiana University and in Indiana congratulates her on winning the Nobel Award."

When asked about the significance of being the first woman to win the Nobel prize for economics, Ostrom said, "We enter a new era of recognizing women's capability to do scientific research. I appreciate being the first woman and I won't be the last."

She shares the award with Oliver Williamson, Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics and Law at the University of California, Berkeley. They will split the 1.4-million-dollar award, and each will receive a gold medal and diploma from the Swedish king on Dec. 10.

When asked about what she will do with the prize money, Ostrom said what she used to do with her previous prize money is to work with Indiana University Foundation. She said: "My orientation is to invest in the workshop and spend them on my students and wonderful colleagues."

Regarding her thoughts on her speech to be delivered on Dec. 10during the award ceremony, she said, "I have not thought about it yet but I think the content will deal with the theme of my work and maybe deal with the theme working together. When individuals find ways of working together, they can build respect and maybe able to solve problems."

Source: Xinhua
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