Americans Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson won the Nobel economics prize on Monday for their analyses of economic governance - the way authority is exercised in companies and economic systems.
Ostrom was the first woman to win the prize since it was founded in 1968, and the fifth woman to win a Nobel award this year - a Nobel record.
Ostrom, who has devoted her career to studying the interaction of people and natural resources, told the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences by telephone that she was surprised by the Nobel.
"There are many, many people who have struggled mightily and to be chosen for this prize is a great honor," she said. "I'm still a little bit in shock."
The academy cited Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance," saying her work had demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by groups using it.
Williamson, the academy said, developed a theory where business firms can serve as structures to resolve conflicts.