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Elinor Ostrom, a political scientist from Indiana University and winner of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, looks at a variety of research into why some groups self-organize and others do not, and the relevance of the theory of collective action to the governance and management of natural resources.
Ostrom is considered one of the leading scholars of common pool resources--forests, fisheries, oil fields, grazing lands, and irrigation systems. In particular, her work emphasizes how humans interact with ecosystems to maintain long-term sustainable resource yields.
Ostrom spoke at Cornell on September 17, 2009.