Elinor Ostrom, the first and only woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize since it was first awarded 40 years ago, died Tuesday, said Indiana University. She was 78.
The university where Ostrom worked since 1965 and conducted groundbreaking research on the ways people organize themselves and manage resources said she died of pancreatic cancer at 6:40 a.m. (1140 GMT) at IU Health Bloomington Hospital.
In her research, Ostrom conducted numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes and groundwater basins, proving them better managed than what other theorists had suggested about common property.
In effect, she showed that ordinary people are capable of creating rules that allow for the sustainable and equitable management of shared resources, countering conventional wisdom that only private ownership or top-down regulation could prevent their destruction.