Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate and ReThinker
1933 – 2012
Dr. Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Laureate and ReThinker, passed away on June 12 after a battle with cancer. Dr. Ostrom was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, an honor she received in 2009 for her work on polycentric governance of the commons. Inspired by field research conducted across the world, Dr. Ostrom asserted that citizens and communities could sustainably manage their collective resources without external intervention by government regulators or private industry. Her theory directly challenged the prevailing wisdom in a field heavily influenced by the principle of the “tragedy of the commons,” which states that individuals acting in their own self-interest will inevitably deplete shared resources in the absence of outside intervention by government or business. Under Dr. Ostrom’s guidance, ReThink Health has applied her seminal theory to health care as part of our Stewardship initiative.