Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Dear Colleague and Friend Elinor Ostrom Has Passed Away

IU already has set up a webpage in her honor, here. My IU, SPEA, and Workshop colleague, Burney Fischer, has been interviewed about Lin's passing, here. Berkeley law professor Dan Farber mourns her loss, here. And NYU law professsor Richard Epstein has blogged about Lin's passing here. I am in the process of drafting an obituary to be published in the next day or two in The Guardian.

Just today, Lin published a popular article at Project Syndicate, here, on the upcoming Rio+20 international environment and develop summit. Several more scholarly papers on which she was working at the time of her death, including one on which I am a co-author, will be published over the next couple of years.

Peter Boettke, a former student of both Ostroms, and a political economist at George Mason, posted the following on his blog yesterday, which I think really captures Lin's legacy perfectly:
Lin leaves behind a tremendous intellectual legacy.  We have much work to do, and we will honor her by getting on with that task.  She also leaves us with a lasting impression as a personal role model for how to pursue one's career as a teacher and mentor to future citizen/scholars, and also as a scholar in the field of political economy seeking to understand the foundations of social cooperation across time and place in collaboration with other intellectually curious scholars across academic disciplines.  Vernon Smith once summed up Lin's personality as "humble and hard-working", and I can only add to that she was "gracious and giving".  Think about how much can be accomplished when the very best of us exhibit such traits and set the example for all the rest of us to strive to emulate.
All I can add is that I owe so much to Lin, both personally and professionally; her loss is quite overwhelming. Her influence was global and entirely positive (just like her attitude towards everything in life).

Here is a video from her last trip abroad, to Mexico City, just last month:

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