Elinor Ostrom Becomes First Woman to Win the Nobel in Economic Science

Oct 12, 2009

Elinor Ostrom became the first woman honored with the Nobel Prize for Economic Science. Ostrom teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington and will share her prize with Oliver Williamson.

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elinor ostrom

American economist Elinor Ostrom has officially become the first woman awarded the the Nobel Prize in Economic Science. The prize has been awarded to 62 men since it launched in 1969.

Ostrom teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington and will share her prize with Oliver Williamson, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Both professors study economic governance and relationships with nonmarket institutions.

Professor Ostrom is a leading scholar in common pool resources. A common pool resource (in economics) is a natural or human-made resource system that is considered a 'common property' resource. The Nobel judges cited Ostrom's 'analysis of economic governance, especially the commons' as the reason why Ostrom was awarded this coveted prize.

Williamson also works separately on economic governance and firm-based hierarchy. The judges cited his 'analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm' as the reason why Williamson was presented with this year's prize.

The awards given to Ostrom and Williamson were the last Nobel Prizes handed out this year. Out of the 13 prizes awarded, 11 were given to Americans.

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Other Women Nobel Laureates

Name Year the Prize was Won Category
Marie Curie 1903 Physics
Bertha von Suttner 1905 Peace
Selma Lagerlof 1909 Literature
Marie Curie 1911 Chemistry
Grazia Deledda 1926 Literature
Sigrid Undset 1928 Literature
Jane Addams 1931 Peace
Irene Joliot-Curie 1935 Chemistry
Pearl Buck 1938 Literature
Gabriela Mistral 1945 Literature
Emily Greene Balch 1946 Peace
Gerty Cori 1947 Physiology/Medicine
Maria Goeppert-Mayer 1963 Physics
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin 1964 Chemistry
Nelly Sachs 1966 Literature
Betty Williams 1976 Peace
Mairead Corrigan 1976 Peace
Rosalyn Yalow 1977 Physiology/Medicine
Mother Teresa 1979 Peace
Alva Myrdal 1982 Peace
Barbara McClintock 1983 Physiology/Medicine
Rita Levi-Montalcini 1986 Physiology/Medicine
Gertrude B. Elion 1988 Physiology/Medicine
Nadine Gordimer 1991 Literature
Aung San Suu Kyi 1991 Peace
Rigoberta Menchu Tum 1992 Peace
Toni Morrison 1993 Literature
Christiane Nusslein-Volhard 1995 Physiology/Medicine
Wislawa Szymborska 1996 Literature
Jody Williams 1997 Peace
Shirin Ebadi 2003 Peace
Linda B. Buck 2004 Physiology/Medicine
Elfriede Jelinek 2004 Literature
Wangari Maathai 2004 Peace
Doris Lessing 2007 Literature
Francoise Barre-Sinoussi 2008 Physiology/Medicine
Elizabeth H. Blackburn 2009 Physiology/Medicine
Carol W. Greider 2009 Physiology/Medicine
Herta Muller 2009 Literature
Ada E. Yonath 2009 Chemistry
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