I am fast doing what many other economists are doing this morning, trying to get a handle on who Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson are; not even close to what they do. A quick scan by myself tells me that they have been around, and have done quite well in the Honors area. It informs that perhaps I should expand my Reading habits. Both work in the arena of economic governance, an area of interest to myself. Now the question becomes Why has the Nobel committee chosen them this year? The answer will supply Us with possible rationale for the Choice at this specific time.
The first fact which should be presented is this Prize actually comes from the Serviges Riksbank, not the original grant of Alfred Nobel. We are in a Time where there is great fear in the Banking community of exterior controls being placed upon themselves. Banks fear for their Profitability, they fear bureaucratic regulation, and most ardently, they fear for an alternate Choice system for the appointment of bank leadership. They naturally would like to highlight the work of two individuals who are on record as Supporters of the concept of natural selection of that leadership; as defined by the banks themselves. This is not to say that the work of these Two is not great, or not supportive of the level of the award which they have been given. It is simply to state that Politics operates even on the Nobel Committee.
Williamson’s theory may be under some attack presently, as corporations have lately shown some degree of economic inefficiency. Ostrom’s theory that common business practice often hides response to motives not recognized by regulation may be somewhat overstated, but who is going to challenge the first woman recipient of the Nobel prize? I guess what I am trying to say is only that Both have put in the fieldwork to deserve the Prize, and Both have presented potential value to their extension of economic knowledge. I simply do not like the crass self-interest which might have been present in the Nobel Committee. One has to ask Why even research must surrender to Politics. lgl