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Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom (August 7, 1933 – June 12, 2012) was an American political economist whose analysis of self-governance and the commons, along with other notable works, lead her to become the first woman to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Ostrom authored many books in the fields of political science, public administration, and organizational theory.

Fun Fact: In 2012, Ostrom was cited as one of the world's 100 most influential people by TIME Magazine.

To learn more about Ostrom's ideas, such as how economic thinking can be applied to solve various problems,  check out one of our summer seminars Problem Solving 101.

 

Elinor Ostrom at managing "common pool" resources 

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September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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