US: Real-world research wins economics Nobel

The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded last Monday to two scholars whose research shed new light on how groups of people cooperate, honouring work that is grounded in the real world over more abstract mathematical models, writes Neil Irwin for The Washington Post.

Elinor Ostrom, a political economist at Indiana University, and Oliver Williamson, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, will split the $1.4 million prize, formally known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Ostrom is the first woman to win the prize since it was created four decades ago.

Instead of honouring scholars whose work comes to bear on the current financial crisis and global recession or who have done theoretical work in finance or macroeconomics, the prize committee chose Ostrom, whose studies have deep practical implications for how to manage environmental constraints and help poor countries develop, and Williamson, whose explanations of how corporations work informs antitrust law.
Full report on The Washington Post site