In Memoriam: Elinor Awan Ostrom, 1933-2012

Elinor Ostrom, the Indiana University professor who was the first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, has died from pancreatic cancer at a hospital in Bloomington. She was 78 years old.

A native of Los Angeles, Ostrom graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in three years. After working in the private sector, she later returned to UCLA to earn master’s and doctoral degrees.

When her husband, Vincent Ostrom, was appointed professor of political science at Indiana University in 1965, the couple moved to Bloomington. She was hired as a visiting assistant professor and later joined the department on a full-time basis. She served as chair of the department from 1980 to 1984. At the time of her death she was a University Distinguished Professor, a professor of public and environmental affairs, and the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. She was also the senior research director of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, an organization she co-founded with her husband in 1973.

Professor Ostrom was a past president of the American Political Science Association. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She was the author of hundreds of scholarly articles and more than two dozen books.

In 2009, she shared the Nobel Prize in Economics with Oliver Williamson of the University of California. Dr. Ostrom was honored for her work that demonstrated that common people were capable developing rules and procedures for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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