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When Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Barrel? An Evolutionary Analysis of Collective Action

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  • David P. Myatt
  • Chris Wallace

Abstract

This paper studies n-player collective-action games in which a public good is produced if and only if m or more volunteers contribute to it. Quantal-response strategy revisions allow play to move between equilibria in which a team of m players successfully provide, and an equilibrium in which the collective action fails. A full characterisation of long-run play reveals the determinants of success. These include the correlation between players` costs of provision and their valuations for the good. The addition of an extra bad apple player can spoil the barrel by destabilising successful teams. A contemporary application is the team-based provision of open-source software. The analysis reveals the features of successful open-source projects, and suggests a rationale for limiting the pool of possible contributors.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper269.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 269.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:269

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Related research

Keywords: Collective Action; Evolution; Teams; Equilibrium Selection; Concordance; Open-Source Software;

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Cited by:
  1. David P. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2006. "An Evolutionary Analysis of the Volunteer`s Dilemma," Economics Series Working Papers 270, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Jens Josephson & Karl Wärneryd, 2004. "Long-Run Selection and the Work Ethic," CESifo Working Paper Series 1319, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Aggarwal, Ishani & Woolley, Anita Williams, 2013. "Do you see what I see? The effect of members’ cognitive styles on team processes and errors in task execution," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 92-99.
  4. Maruta, Toshimasa & Okada, Akira, 2014. "The Formation and Long-run Stability of Cooperative Groups in a Social Dilemma Situation," Discussion Papers 2014-03, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.

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