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Elinor Ostrom in January 2011. (AFP/Getty Images)

Elinor Ostrom, First Woman To Win Nobel In Economics, Dies

Jun 12, 2012

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Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, died this morning at Indiana University's Health Bloomington Hospital.

The university says that the 78-year-old distinguished professor succumbed to cancer.

Ostrom shared the 2009 Nobel. As the prize committee said at the time:

"Elinor 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, Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories. 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."

After the honor was announced, as we reported, Ostrom spoke with NPR's Michele Norris about how as a young woman she wasn't allowed to study trigonometry because she was going to be "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen."

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