An Award Worthy Woman
By Augusta Scott
In 2009, the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to a woman for the first time in history. Political scientist, Elinor Ostrom, introduced a unique research method to the field of economics by conducting most of her research through case studies- a method not commonly used by economists, who traditionally focus on theories and statistics.
Elinor Ostrom graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in political science. After years of teaching, researching, and writing, Ostrom was awarded a Nobel Prize “for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons.” The tragedy of the commons theory says that humans are too self-interested to manage a community resource without interference from the government or private enterprise. Elinor Ostrom’s research, however, found many examples around the world of communities self-organizing including irrigation systems, forests, and other natural resources.
As a woman, Ostrom struggled to find employment in her field of study. She had to take extra steps to prove herself as a qualified economist and professor. After 10 years of hard work she became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics and remains the only woman to have ever won that prize. As a female college student in 2019, I feel inspired knowing that Ostrom was able to overcome challenges and become a successful, well respected economic thinker.
At Strata we will continue to utilize the work of great scholars like Elinor Ostrom and encourage the great scholars of the future.