Nobel Prize Winner Affiliated with Mason’s Mercatus Center

Posted: October 13, 2009 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: October 12, 2009 at 2:58 pm

By Robin Herron

Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics, is affiliated with Mason’s economics research and outreach group, the Mercatus Center. Ostrom, 76, shared the 2009 prize with Oliver Williamson, 77.

The award, which was announced on Oct. 12 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, was given for their work in analyzing economic governance, the rules by which people exercise authority in companies and economic systems.

According to the Associated Press, Ostrom, who is a political scientist at Indiana University, was specifically honored for her work showing how common resources, such as forests, fisheries, oil fields or grazing lands, can be managed successfully by the people who use them rather than by governments or private companies.

For more information on Ostrom’s relationship with Mercatus, see the news release.

Mason’s James M. Buchanan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics, was awarded the same prize in 1986 for his work in public choice theory; and Vernon Smith, University Professor Emeritus of Economics and current Mercatus Center fellow and board member, received the Nobel in 2002 for his work in experimental economics.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu