Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Elinor Ostrom

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Elinor Ostrom
New institutional economics
Born(1933-08-07)August 7, 1933
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedJune 12, 2012(2012-06-12) (aged 78)
Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.
InstitutionIndiana University
Arizona State University
FieldPublic economics
Public choice theory
Alma materUniversity of California,
Los Angeles
InfluencesFriedrich von Hayek
James M. Buchanan
ContributionsGoverning the Commons
AwardsElected to the US National Academy of Sciences (2001); John J. Carty Award (2004); Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2009)[1]
Information at IDEAS/RePEc
Elinor "Lin" Ostrom (born Elinor Claire Awan;[2] August 7, 1933 – June 12, 2012) was an American political economist.[3][4][5]
She was awarded the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which she shared with Oliver E. Williamson, for "her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons".[6] She was the first, and to date, the only woman to win the prize in this category. Her work was associated with the new institutional economics and the resurgence of political economy.[7]
Ostrom lived in Bloomington, Indiana, and served on the faculty of both Indiana University and Arizona State University. She held the rank of Distinguished Professor at Indiana University and was the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University in Bloomington, as well as Research Professor and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University in Tempe. She was a lead researcher for the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP), managed by Virginia Tech and funded by USAID.[8] Together with her husband Vincent, she also advised the journal of Transnational Corporations Review since 2008.[9]


[edit] Personal life and education

Ostrom was born Elinor Claire Awan in Los Angeles, California, the only child[10] of Leah (born Hopkins) and Adrian Awan.[11] Her father was Jewish, while her mother was Protestant. She attended a Protestant church and often spent weekends staying with her aunt, one of her father's sisters, who kept a kosher home.[12] Her parents were poor, especially when her father left her mother.[13]
Ostrom graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1951 and then received a B.A. (with honors) in political science at UCLA, in 1954. She was awarded an M.A. in 1962 and a PhD in 1965, both from UCLA Department of Political Science.
She married political scientist Vincent Ostrom in 1963.[10]

[edit] Career

In 1973, she co-founded the "Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis"[14] at Indiana University with her husband, Vincent Ostrom. Examining the use of collective action, trust, and cooperation in the management of common pool resources (CPR), her institutional approach to public policy, known as the Institutional analysis and development framework (IAD), has been considered sufficiently distinct to be thought of as a separate school of public choice theory.[15] She authored many books in the fields of organizational theory, political science, and public administration.

[edit] Research

Ostrom's work emphasized how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields. Common pool resources include many forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands, and irrigation systems. She conducted her field studies on the management of pasture by locals in Africa and irrigation systems management in villages of western Nepal (e.g. Dang). Her work has considered how societies have developed diverse institutional arrangements for managing natural resources and avoiding ecosystem collapse in many cases, even though some arrangements have failed to prevent resource exhaustion. Her work emphasized the multifaceted nature of human–ecosystem interaction and argues against any singular "panacea" for individual social-ecological system problems.[16]

[edit] Design Principles for CPR Institutions

Ostrom identified eight "design principles" of stable local common pool resource management:[17]
  1. Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties);
  2. Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions;
  3. Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process;
  4. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators;
  5. A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules;
  6. Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access;
  7. Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities;
  8. In the case of larger common-pool resources,organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local CPRs at the base level.
These principles have since been slightly modified and expanded to include a number of additional variables believed to affect the success of self-organized governance systems, including effective communication, internal trust and reciprocity, and the nature of the resource system as a whole.[18]
Ostrom and her many co-researchers have developed a comprehensive "Social-Ecological Systems (SES) framework", within which much of the still-evolving theory of common-pool resources and collective self-governance is now located.[19]

[edit] Work with Environmental Protection

"Ostrom cautioned against single governmental units at global level to solve the collective action problem of coordinating work against environmental destruction. Partly, this is due to their complexity, and partly to the diversity of actors involved. Her proposal was that of a polycentric approach, where key management decisions should be made as close to the scene of events and the actors involved as possible."[20]

[edit] Awards

Ostrom was a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences[1] and past president of the American Political Science Association and the Public Choice Society. In 1999 she became the first woman to receive the prestigious Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science.[21]
She was awarded the John J. Carty Award from the National Academy of Sciences in 2004,[22] and in 2005 received the James Madison Award by the American Political Science Association. In 2008, she received the William H. Riker Prize in political science, and became the first woman to do so. In 2009, she received the Tisch Civic Engagement Research Prize from the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. In 2010, Utne Reader magazine included Ostrom as one of the "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World."[23] She was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2012.
The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) awarded its Honorary Fellowship to her in 2002.

[edit] Nobel Prize in Economics

Telephone interview with Elinor Ostrom
In 2009, Ostrom became the first woman to receive the prestigious Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly known as the Nobel Prize in Economics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance," saying her work had demonstrated how common property could be successfully managed by groups using it. Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson shared the 10-million Swedish kronor (£910,000; $1.44 m) prize for their separate work in economic governance.[24]
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Ostrom's 'research brought this topic from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention', "by showing how common resources — forests, fisheries, oil fields or grazing lands, can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies". Ostrom's work in this regard challenged conventional wisdom, showing that common resources can be successfully managed without government regulation or privatization.[25]

[edit] Death

Ostrom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2011[26] and died of the disease[27] on June 12, 2012, at the age of 78.[28] She was survived by her husband, Vincent Ostrom, though he died shortly afterwards in the same month.[10] On the day of her death, she published her last article, "Green from the Grassroots," in Project Syndicate.[29] Indiana University president Michael McRobbie wrote "Indiana University has lost an irreplaceable and magnificent treasure with the passing of Elinor Ostrom".[30]

[edit] Notable publications

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Zagorski, N. (2006). "Profile of Elinor Ostrom". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 (51): 19221–19223. doi:10.1073/pnas.0609919103. PMC 1748208. PMID 17164324. // edit
  2. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at
  3. ^ "No Panaceas! Elinor Ostrom talks with Fran Korten". Shareable: Civic System. March 18, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
  4. ^ Janssen, M. A. (2012). "Elinor Ostrom (1933–2012)". Nature 487 (7406): 172. doi:10.1038/487172a. edit
  5. ^ Wilson, R. K. (2012). "Elinor Ostrom (1933-2012)". Science 337 (6095): 661–661. doi:10.1126/science.1227725. PMID 22879496. edit
  6. ^ Sveriges Riksbank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009, Sveriges Riksbank, October 12, 2009,, retrieved October 12, 2009
  7. ^ Aligica, Paul Dragos, and Peter Boettke (2010). "Ostrom, Elinor The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Online Edition. Abstract.
  8. ^ "Researcher for Virginia Tech program wins Nobel Prize". Virginia Tech. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  9. ^ "Transnational Corporations Review".
  10. ^ a b c Telegraph obituary
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "The story of non-economist Elinor Ostrom". The Swedish Wire. December 9, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  13. ^ "Elinor Ostrom". The Economist. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  14. ^ "The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  15. ^ Mitchell, W. C. (1988). "Virginia, Rochester, and Bloomington: Twenty-five years of public choice and political science". Public Choice 56 (2): 101–119. doi:10.1007/BF00115751. edit
  16. ^ "Beyond the tragedy of the commons" Stockholm Whiteboard Seminars
  17. ^ Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-40599-8.
  18. ^ Poteete, Janssen, and Ostrom (2010). Working Together: Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice. Princeton University Press.
  19. ^ Ostrom, E. (2009). "A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems". Science 325 (5939): 419–422. doi:10.1126/science.1172133. PMID 19628857. edit
  20. ^ Vedeld, Trond: A New Global Game – And How Best to Play It. The NIBR International Blog, 12.02.2010
  21. ^ "The Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science- Prize Winners".
  22. ^ "John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  23. ^ "Elinor Ostrom: The Commoner". Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  24. ^ “First woman wins economics Nobel” BBC News Retrieved October 12, 2009
  25. ^ “Elinor Ostrom, Winner of Nobel in Economics, Dies at 78” New York Times Retrieved October 19, 2012
  26. ^ Guardian obituary
  27. ^ NPR
  28. ^ "Elinor Ostrom dies, Nobel-winning economist". Reuters.
  29. ^ Ostrom, Elinor. "Green from the Grassroots". Project Syndicate.
  30. ^ "Elinor Ostrom, Only Female Nobel Laureate in Economics, Dies". Wall Street Journal.

[edit] Additional reading

[edit] External links

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