Prior to Mr. Williamson's work, many legal scholars and economists had seen vertical integration as a way to acquire market power. This argument made little sense, as antitrust scholars Robert Bork and the late Ward Bowman pointed out, because it's hard to multiply market power using vertical integration.
Mr. Williamson showed that horizontal mergers of companies in the same industry—even those that increase market power and even those where the increase in market power leads to a higher price—can create efficiency. The reason is that if mergers reduce costs, the reduction in costs can create more gains for the economy than the losses to consumers from the higher price.
In her work on development economics, Ms. Ostrom concludes that top-down solutions don't help poor countries. Are you listening, World Bank?
In a 2006 article with Harini Nagendra, Ms. Ostrom wrote: "We conclude that simple formulas focusing on formal ownership, particularly one based solely on public [government] ownership of forest lands, will not solve the problem of resource use." Garth Owen-Smith, who helped solve the common-resource problem of elephants in Namibia by ensuring that local residents shared in the financial benefits from tourism and trophy hunting, drew explicitly on Ms. Ostrom's work. If locals benefit from having a resident population of elephants, they are much less likely to poach and more likely to stop other poachers.
Elinor Ostrom has demonstrated empirically that “the” state may not be “the” solution. Her work argues for the wisdom of institutional diversity, looking to individuals to solve problems rather than relying on top down, one-size-fits-all solutions. The conventional wisdom assumes that natural resources and environmental problems should be solved in a centralized—and if possible, global—manner. Through innovative analysis in the field, in the experimental laboratory, and in theory, Ostrom’s work has show that creative solutions to problems such as the depletion of common pool resources exist outside of the sphere of national governments. Hence today’s announcement that she had received the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.