2009年10月13日 星期二

Ostrom, Williamson Win Nobel Economics Prize

2009年 10月 13日 09:46
Ostrom, Williamson Win Nobel Economics Prize


Two U.S. economists, Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, who study the way decisions are made outside the markets on which many other economists focus, were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics Monday.

Ostrom, who teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is the first woman to win the prize, which, before Monday, had been awarded to 62 men since it was launched in 1969 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Swedish bank. The judges cited 'her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons,' the way in which natural resources are managed as shared resources. It's an area of research that she said was relevant to questions surrounding global warming, and suggests that decisions by individuals can help solve the problem even as governments work to reach an international agreement.

Ostrom's work challenged the view that when people share a finite resource, they'll end up destroying it. Such 'a tragedy of the commons' argues that resources that are important for the common good need to be highly regulated, or privatized. Ostrom spent years in the field.

'Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins, Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories,' the Nobel judges noted.

That's because over time, people often develop institutions, social networks and ways of interacting that solves the problem. Lobstermen in Maine, for example, have come to informally regulate, and restrict entry to, the areas where they work. Where these 'lobster gangs' are prevalent, there are more lobsters.

On a larger scale, these social networks don't always work as well, notes Yale University environmental economist Matthew Kotchen - there are fewer lobsters, for example, further away from Maine harbors. What's important, he says, is that Ostrom's work points out the importance of the networks that many economists had ignored, in part, because they couldn't come up with elegant models to describe how they worked.

'Just because you don't know how to model them doesn't mean you can ignore them,' he said.

Ostrom, who was interviewed by phone during the announcement press conference in Stockholm, described the prize as 'an immense surprise,' and said, 'I'm still a little bit in shock.' Her University of California at Los Angeles Ph.D. is in political science, but she said she considers herself a political economist.

Williamson, who teaches at the University of California at Berkeley and earned his Ph.D. at Pittsburgh's Carnegie-Mellon Univesrity, was cited for 'for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm' - the reason some economic decisions are made at arm's length in markets and others are made inside a corporation.

Williamson's work stems from time he spent in the late 1960s working in the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, and noticing that there was little attention to the internal workings of companies.

'The way economists used to think of the firm was as a black box that transfers inputs into outputs, and they didn't look inside,' explained Williamson, who was woken up by the call from the Nobel committee at what was 3:30 in the morning his time. 'We opened up the black box.'

What he found was that many economic decisions that standard theory said would be more efficiently left to the market place were actually better left within a firm.

'Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent,' the Nobel judges said. 'But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets.'

The economics prize is one of six Nobel prizes not created in Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel's 1896 will, and officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009.

The two economists will share a 10-million kronor ($1.42 million) prize. Ostrom said she hopes to devote the proceeds to supporting research and graduate students.

Justin Lahart

2009年 10月 13日 09:46
兩位美國經濟學家分享諾貝爾經濟學獎


Reuters
美國經濟學家埃莉諾﹒奧斯特羅姆周一在印第安納大學接受了諾貝爾經濟學獎
位美國經濟學家埃莉諾﹒奧斯特羅姆(Elinor Ostrom)和奧利弗﹒威廉姆森(Oliver Williamson)周一獲諾貝爾經濟學獎,他們的研究領域是其他很多經濟學家關注的市場之外的決策過程。

奧 斯特羅姆現為印第安納大學伯明頓分校教授,是第一位獲諾貝爾經濟學獎的女性。1969年,為慶祝瑞典中央銀行成立300周年而設立了諾貝爾經濟學獎。到目 前為止,該獎曾被授予62位男性。評審人員說,奧斯特羅姆因對經濟治理、尤其是自然資源作為共享資源加以管理的方式的研究而獲獎。奧斯特羅姆說,這個研究 領域與全球變暖相關問題有關,在各國政府努力達成一項國際協議之際,個人的決定也可以幫助解決這一問題。

奧斯特羅姆的工作對以下這種觀點提出了挑戰:當人們共享有限的資源時,最終會把資源破壞掉。這種“共享的悲劇”觀點認為,對公共利益非常重要的資源需要進行高度的監管或私有化。奧斯特羅姆在這個領域進行了多年的研究。

諾貝爾評審人員說,基於大量有關使用者管理魚類資源、牧場、森林、湖泊和地下水資源的研究,奧斯特羅姆得出結論:結果往往要比標準理論所預測的要好。

原因在於,長期來看,人們常常會設立機構、社會網絡和互動途徑來解決這個問題。舉例來講,美國馬裡蘭州的龍蝦工人對他們工作的地區進行非正式的監管,限制人們的進入。在這些“龍蝦幫”流行的地方,有更多的龍蝦。

耶 魯大學環境經濟學家柯秦(Matthew Kotchen)說,更大范圍來看,這類社會網絡並不總能產生良好效果。舉例來講,距離緬因港口更遠的地方,龍蝦更少。他說,更重要的是,奧斯特羅姆的工 作指出了很多經濟學家忽略了的社會網絡的重要性,原因之一是這些經濟學家無法開發出準確的模型來描述社會網絡的運作方式。

他說,只因為你不知道如何為其建模,並不意味著你就能忽視它們。

在斯德哥爾摩舉行的宣布諾貝爾和平獎的新聞發布會期間,奧斯特羅姆接受了電話採訪。她說,諾貝爾經濟學獎是“巨大的驚喜”,我仍感覺有點震驚。奧斯特羅姆曾獲得加州大學洛杉磯分校的政治學博士,不過她說她把自己視為一位政治經濟學家。

威廉姆森現為加州大學伯克利分校的教授,曾獲得卡內基梅隆大學的博士。他因“對經濟治理、尤其是企業邊際的分析”而獲獎。企業邊際是一些經濟決策在市場上做出、而其他則是在企業內部做出的原因。

威廉姆森的工作源於60年代末他在司法部反壟斷部門的工作經歷,他注意到對企業內部運作方式的關注很少。

Associated Press
奧利弗﹒威廉姆森在自己家中,手中拿著自己的一本經濟學著作
威廉姆森解釋說,過去經濟學家研究企業的方式是把它看作是一個可以把輸入轉變成輸出的“黑箱”,他們並沒有研究裡面的東西。而我們把這個“黑箱”打開了。威廉姆森在美國西部太平洋時間凌晨3點半被諾貝爾獎委員會的電話叫醒。

他發現,那些標準理論認為留給市場去做會更有效率的很多經濟決策,實際上最好是留給公司內部。

諾貝爾評審人員說,競爭性市場運轉的相對較好,原因是買賣雙方在意見出現分歧的時候,可以轉向其他的交易伙伴。不過當市場競爭有限時,更有利於沖突解決的是企業而不是市場。

諾貝爾經濟學獎是六項諾貝爾獎中唯一不是1896年瑞典工業家阿爾弗雷德﹒諾貝爾(Alfred Nobel)遺囑中提到的獎項。該獎項的正式名稱是“瑞典中央銀行紀念阿爾弗雷德﹒諾貝爾經濟學獎”。

這兩位經濟學家將分享1,000萬克朗(合142萬美元)的獎金。奧斯特羅姆說,她希望把獎金捐出來,支持研究和研究生。

Justin Lahart
張貼留言

網誌存檔