Jul 152011

Joanne Lynn and I have collaborated on a paper covering applications of Elinor Ostrom’s model of voluntary social arrangements to the challenges of Health Care. With this post we provide links where you can download our paper if you wish to read it in full.

Elinor Ostrom’s work to describe long-lived voluntary social arrangements that manage natural resources to optimize their use over time and prevent degradation through individual exploitation has been an important counterpoint to the previously dominant perception that successful management of limited natural resources depended upon having the resource owned by one private party or managed by strong government action.  The idea that the people who use the resource can manage it collectively has appealed to us and to others when addressing health care reforms.  However, there are obvious differences between health care delivery and harvesting fish or trees. This essay sets out to examine the similarities and differences, to state the analogies that might make health care similar to a common pool resource, and then to apply the main elements of Ostrom’s observations as to success or failure of institutions governing common pool resources to health care reform in the US.

You may download the full text of the paper either as a PDF file or as a Microsoft Word document.

Keywords: Elinor Ostrom, Ostrom’s model, health care reform in the United States, community based care, Jane Brock, Colorado Foundation for Medical Care, Medicare quality improvement program

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