The winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics were announced today in Oslo.  Americans Elinor Ostrom and Oliver E. Williamson shared the award for their work in the area of economic governance.
Professor Ostrom, a political science professor at  Indiana University in Bloomington is the first woman Nobel laureate in this category.  She describes her work as studying “how local people, as well as government officials, have attempted to solve very difficult resource problems.”

Dr. Williamson is an emeritus professor of microeconomics at Berkeley.  He has developed a theory in which business firms represent alternate governance structures and are studied in terms of conflict resolution.

The Nobel Academy said that their work over the last three decades has “advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention.”

The “First Take” wags over at Dow Jones’ MarketWatch took a different approach to the story.  Under the headline “Obama fails to win Nobel prize in economics,”  Tom Bernis wrote:

LONDON (MarketWatch) — In a decision as shocking as Friday’s surprise peace prize win, President Obama failed to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Monday.

While few observers think Obama has done anything for world peace in the nearly nine months he’s been in office, the same clearly can’t be said for economics.

The president has worked tirelessly since even before his inauguration to wrest control of the U.S. economy from failed free markets, and the evil CEOs who profit from them, and to turn it over to wise, fair and benevolent bureaucrats.

From his $787 billion stimulus package, to the cap-and-trade bill, to the seizures of General Motors and Chrysler, to the undead health-care “reform” act, Obama has dominated the U.S., and therefore the global, economy as few figures have in recent years.

Yet the Nobel panel chose instead to award the prize to two obscure academics — Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson — one noted for her work on managing collective resources, and the other for his work on transaction costs.

Other surprise losers include celebrity noneconomist and filmmaker Michael Moore; U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner; and Larry Summers, head of the U.S. national economic council.

It is unclear whether the president will now refuse his peace prize in protest against the obvious slight to his real achievements this year.