The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded today to two US professors—one of whom is the first woman ever to win the prize—for their research into decision making in structures outside of markets. Elinor Ostrom, of the University of Indiana, was cited for her study of the commons, showing how public property is often managed better than traditional models would predict. Oliver Williamson, of Berkeley, won for showing how firms can sometimes solve problems better than markets can.
Each of the professors receives half of the $1.4 million award, which is technically not a Nobel but rather a prize given by the Swedish central bank in honor of Alfred Nobel. It brings the number of female laureates this year to five, the highest ever. Two women were among the medicine laureates and one woman shared the chemistry prize, while German novelist Herta Mueller received the literature award.