Ostrom, Elinor Awan, 1933–2012, American political economist, b. Los Angeles, Ph.D. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 1965. She was on the faculty of the Univ. of Indiana, Bloomington, from 1965 until her death, and was also a research professor at Arizona State Univ. Ostrom studied how individuals interact through sets of rules, institutions, and other arrangements to maintain resourses held in common, and in 2009 she shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in the Economic Sciences with Oliver Williamson for this work. She showed that, contrary to traditional assumptions, individuals who have access to a shared resource do not inevitably overexploit or destroy the resource. Her research emphasized the success of local institutions based on local norms and culture, instead of centralized institutions, in managing such resources. She was the first woman to receive the prize.
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