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Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms

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  • Elinor Ostrom

Abstract

I assume multiple types of players--"rational egoists," as well as "conditional cooperators" and "willing punishers"--in models of nonmarket behavior. I use an indirect evolutionary approach to explain how multiple types of players could survive and flourish in social dilemma situations. Contextual variables that enhance knowledge about past behavior assist in explaining the origin of collective action. Among the important contextual variables are types of goods, types of groups, and rules that groups use to provide and allocate goods. Finally, I reexamine a series of design principles that were derived earlier from an examination of extensive case materials.

Suggested Citation

  • Elinor Ostrom, 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 137-158, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:3:p:137-158
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.3.137
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.14.3.137
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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