Monday, October 12, 2009
Posted by Simon Halliday | Monday, October 12, 2009 | Category: Economics |
So, today the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Science in memory of Alfred Nobel, or the Nobel Prize in Economics, was awarded to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson. All over the web you've had incredibly famous economists announcing that they knew nothing of Elinor Ostrom's work. Astounding! Her book, Governing The Commons, is an incredibly important tract on how societies come up with novel, and socially determined, ways to deal with common property, or, in other words, to solve the prisoners' dilemma. I was introduced to her work during my Honours at the University of Cape Town by two of my professors, Justine Burns and Malcolm Keswell, the work of which we cemented during my Masters at UCT. They had been inclined to read her because of the influence of Samuel Bowles, who refers to Ostrom's work several times in his book Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution. One of her papers also appears in a book for which Bowles is one of the editors, Moral Sentiments and Material Interests. Bowles also refers comprehensively in MBIE to Oliver Williams, specifically his application of Ronald Coase's theories. Bowles has a soft spot for Coase and argues for a synthesis of Herbert Simon, Karl Marx and Ronal Coase in order for us better to understand how markets function in non-market ways. Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to the many stating how proud they are about the choice. I am most happy that Eugene "Efficient Markets' Fama didn't get it and that the 'markets aren't quite efficient' people did get it.