Elinor Ostrom

She went to teach at Indiana University in 1965 because the school offered her husband a job in the political-science department. But Elinor Ostrom, who in 2009 became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics, eventually became the headline act. Her work, which focused on how ordinary people who use natural resources like forests, fisheries and oil fields can manage them more smartly than companies or governments, has never been more timely. "After the TARP bailouts, and the devastation of democracies in Europe by financial technocrats, the world is beginning to appreciate what Elinor Ostrom has deeply, persistently...

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