Paul Romer on Elinor Ostrom

There’s been plenty of debate about the first female recipient of the Nobel prize for economics, Elinor Ostrom.

The first female winner of the Nobel prize for economics, Elinor Ostrom

The first female winner of the Nobel prize for economics, Elinor Ostrom

Now one of my favourite economists, Paul Romer, has written a perceptive blog post about her work, and what it tells us about the modern practice of social sciences:

Most economists think that they are building cranes that suspend important theoretical structures from a base that is firmly grounded in first principles. In fact, they almost always invoke a skyhook, some unexplained result without which the entire structure collapses. Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel Prize in Economics because she works from the ground up, building a crane that can support the full range of economic behavior. Continue reading

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