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Elinor Ostrom

Elinor OstromBorn: 7-Aug-1933
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Died: 12-Jun-2012
Location of death: Bloomington, IN
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified

Gender: Female
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Sociologist, Economist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Common-pool resources

American political scientist Elinor Ostrom grew up during the Great Depression, and helped her mother tend a victory garden during World War II. From this, she said, came her first observation in economics, that most people can cooperate and act for the common good. She overcame severe stuttering as a child by joining her high school's debate team, and later studied political science at UCLA. Discouraged from pursuing a higher degree because of her gender, she worked in the personnel office of a law firm for several years. She then took work in the personnel department at UCLA and returned to school part-time, eventually earning her PhD.

She taught at Indiana University for more than forty years, studying how institutions affect the incentives and interactions of individuals in structured situations, and especially how user associations can efficiently manage the commons (goods or intangibles shared by all, such as air, libraries, parks, water, etc.). For her groundbreaking work on common-pool resources, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009, sharing the honor with Oliver E. Williamson. Prior to her Nobel she was largely unknown in the academic circles where economists congregate, and her work was seen by some as outside the orthodoxy of economic papers. Her Economics Nobel was the first ever won by a woman. Her husband was also a poli-sci professor.

Husband: Vincent Ostrom (professor of political science, until her death)

    University: BA Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles (1954)
    University: MA Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles (1962)
    University: PhD Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles (1965)
    Teacher: Government, Indiana University Bloomington (1965-69)
    Teacher: Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington (1969-74)
    Professor: Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington (1974-2012)
    Professor: Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington (part-time)
    Administrator: Chair, Department of Political Science, Indiana University Bloomington (1980-84, 89-90)

    Godfrey L. Cabot, Inc., Boston, MA Personnel Dept. (1955-57)
    University of California at Los Angeles Personnel Dept. (1957-61)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1991
    American Academy of Political and Social Science 2008
    American Political Science Association Vice President (1975-76), President (1996-97)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science 2001
    American Philosophical Society 2006
    International Association for the Study of Common Property President (1990-91)
    MacArthur Foundation
    National Academy of Public Administration
    National Academy of Sciences 2001
    National Research Council Committee on Grand Challenges in Environmental Sciences (1998-2000)
    National Science Foundation
    Policy Studies Organization
    Public Choice Society President (1982-84)
    US Agency for International Development Research Advisory Committee (1989-91)
    American Journal of Political Science Editorial Board
    American Political Science Review Editorial Board
    Science Editorial Board
    Policy Studies Organization Donald Campbell Award 1986
    International Studies Association Harold and Margaret Sprout Award 1992
    Frank E. Seidman Distinguished Award 1997
    APSA Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award 2000
    National Academy of Sciences John J. Carty Award 2004
    APSA Madison Award 2005
    Cozzarelli Prize 2006
    William H. Riker Prize in Political Science 2008
    American Agricultural Economics Association Galbraith Award 2008
    Nobel Prize for Economics 2009:(with Oliver E. Williamson)
    Risk Factors: Stuttering

Author of books:
Patterns of Metropolitan Policing (1978, with Roger B. Parks and Gordon P. Whitaker)
Basic Issues in Police Performance (1982, with four co-authors)
Strategies of Political Inquiry (1982)
Local Government in the United States (1988, with Vincent Ostrom and Robert Bish)
Governing the Commons : The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (1990)
Crafting Institutions for Self-Governing Irrigation Systems (1992)
Institutional Incentives and Sustainable Development : Infrastructure Policies in Perspective (1993, with Larry Schroeder and Susan Wynne)
Rules, Games, and Common-Pool Resources (1994, with Roy Gardner)
Local Commons and Global Interdependence : Heterogeneity and Cooperation in Two Domains (1995, with Robert Keohane)
Competition & Cooperation : Conversations with Nobelists about Economics and Political Science (1999, with James Alt and Margaret Levi)
People and Forests : Communities, Institutions, and Governance (2000, with Clark Gibson and Margaret A. McKean)
Protecting the Commons : A Framework for Resource Management in the Americas (2001, with four co-authors)
Institutions, Ecosystems, and Sustainability (2001, with Robert Costanza, Bobbi Low, and James Wilson)
The Drama of the Commons (2002, with five co-authors)
Improving Irrigation Governance and Management in Nepal (2002, with Ganesh Shivakoti)
Trust and Reciprocity : Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental Research (2003, with James Walker)
The Commons in the New Millennium : Challenges and Adaptations (2003, with Nives Dolšak)
Foundations of Social Capital (2003, with T. K. Ahn)
Seeing the Forest and the Trees : Human-Environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems (2005, with Emilio Moran)
The Samaritan's Dilemma : The Political Economy of Development Aid (2005, with Krister Andersson, Clark Gibson, Sujai Shivakumar)
Asian Irrigation in Transition : Responding to Challenges (2005, with five co-authors)
Understanding Institutional Diversity (2005)
Linking the Formal and Informal Economy : Concepts and Policies (2006, with Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis and Ravi Kanbur)
Understanding Knowledge as a Commons : From Theory to Practice (2007, with Charlotte Hess)
Working Together : Collective Action, the Commons, and Multiple Methods in Practice (2010, with Marco A. Janssen and Amy R. Poteete)

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