IUCN congratulates Nobel Prize winner

15 October 2009 | News story

IUCN congratulates Professor Elinor Ostrom, a member of IUCN's Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, for winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Professor Ostrom, who is involved with the theme on Governance, Equity and Rights in the Commission, shared the prize with Oliver E. Williamson, for "her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons". She is the first woman to win the prize in this category.

"We were delighted to hear about Professor Ostrom's remarkable achievement," said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. "IUCN has widely used the results of her research to advance community-based natural resource management and to support governance regimes that enable improved management of common property resources."

Announcing the prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Professor Ostrom has challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized.

Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins, Professor Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories, judges added.

She observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, and she characterizes the rules that promote successful outcomes.

Professor Ostrom is the Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science, and Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. She is also the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.