Elinor Ostrom became the fifth woman to win a Nobel Prize this year and the first - in economics, honored along with fellow American Oliver Williamson on Monday for analyzing economic governance — the rules by which people exercise authority in companies and economic systems.
It was also an exceptionally strong year for the United States, with 11 American citizens — some of them with dual nationality — among the 13 Nobel winners.
Ostrom, 76, and Williamson, 77, shared the 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) economics prize for work that "advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
Ostrom, a political scientist at Indiana University, showed how common resources — forests, fisheries, oil fields or grazing lands — can be managed successfully by the people who use them, rather than by governments or private companies.
Williamson, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, focused on how firms and markets differ in the ways that they resolve conflicts. He found that companies are typically better able to resolve conflicts than markets when competition is limited.
The Nobel prizes, with the exception of the economics prize, were established by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, in his will in 1895. The Economic Sciences prize, the last Nobel award to be announced this year, was created in 1968 by the Swedish central bank in memory of Nobel.
In addition to the prize money, Nobel winners will receive a gold medal and diploma from the Swedish king on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death in 1896.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.