June 12, 2012
This will not be a review of her scholarly contributions. I have already made some attempt at that in a post shortly after her richly-deserved Nobel prize in economics. And I also link an announcement of her death here.
I met Professor Ostrom at a celebration of her work at GMU after she won the prize. I was fortunate enough to be invited to dinner with her and just a few other people afterwards. I was so positively impressed by her, first, as a human being. She was kind, funny and liked a good scotch. (I stuck with the wine.) As a scholar, she was not only brilliant but she was non-dogmatic about methods, willing to learn from others, and had a wonderful combination of humility and self-confidence. She knew how important a good story is to the advancement of science, and not just heuristically.
She and Peter Boettke apparently “clicked” academically. After all, he saw her importance and published a book about her work before the Nobel Committee recognized her (and 99% of all economists ever heard of her!).
At the end of obituaries it is customary to say “she will be missed.” But, really, this time she will be missed by more than her family and friends, but by all of those who learned from her writings or from her in person. We carry on – impoverished by her death, enriched by her life.