A Nobel first: economics prize goes to a woman

STOCKHOLM, (Reuters) – A U.S. academic who proved  that communities can trump state control and corporations became  the first woman to win the Nobel prize in economics yesterday,  sharing it with an expert on conflict resolution. 

Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University defied conventional  wisdom with studies that showed that user-managed properties —  such as community fish stocks or woodland areas — more often  than not were better run than standard theories predicted.
“Since we have found that bureaucrats sometimes do not have  the correct information while citizens and users of resources  do, we hope it helps encourage a sense of capacity and power,”  the professor told a news conference via telephone. The previously accepted view was common property was poorly  managed and should be either regulated centrally or privatised. 
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded her half the  10 million Swedish crown ($1.4 million) prize, with the other  half going to Oliver Williamson, who was recognised for his  analysis of conflict resolution by firms and markets.  

“Over the last three decades, these seminal contributions  have advanced economic governance research from the fringe to  the forefront of scientific attention,” it said in a statement. After a week of Nobel drama that included the gasp-inducing  selection of U.S. President Barack Obama for the peace prize,  the economics category risked being an anti-climax. 
But the choice of a woman for a prize in a field dominated  by men added a final twist to this year’s awards, showing again  the Nobel committees’ penchant for springing surprises.

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