IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Evolution, Teamwork and Collective Action: Production Targets in the Private Provision of Public Goods


  • DavidP. Myatt
  • Chris Wallace


Collective-action problems arise when private actions generate common consequences; for example, the private provision of a public good. This article asks: what shapes of public-good production function work well when play evolves over time, and hence moves between equilibria? Welfare-maximising public-good production functions yield nothing when combined efforts fall below some threshold but otherwise maximally exploit the production-possibility frontier. They generate multiple equilibria: coordinated teamwork is integral to successful collective actions. Optimal thresholds correspond to the output that individuals who pay all private costs but enjoy only private benefits would be just willing to provide. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • DavidP. Myatt & Chris Wallace, 2009. "Evolution, Teamwork and Collective Action: Production Targets in the Private Provision of Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(534), pages 61-90, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:534:p:61-90

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lu, Peng, 2016. "Predicting peak of participants in collective action," Applied Mathematics and Computation, Elsevier, vol. 274(C), pages 318-330.
    2. Tamás L. Balogh & Christian Ewerhart, 2015. "On the origin of r-concavity and related concepts," ECON - Working Papers 187, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Lu, Peng & Wang, Zheng & Nie, Shizhao & Pujia, Wangmo & Lu, Pengfei & Chen, Baosheng, 2018. "Exploring the participate propensity in cyberspace collective actions: The 5‰ rule," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 503(C), pages 582-590.
    4. Friehe, Tim & Tabbach, Avraham, 2018. "A comparison of simple action-based and outcome-based policies for emergency-like situations," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 22-34.
    5. Robertas Zubrickas, 2013. "The provision point mechanism with reward money," ECON - Working Papers 114, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2013.
    6. Wallace, Chris & Young, H. Peyton, 2015. "Stochastic Evolutionary Game Dynamics," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,, Elsevier.
    7. Lu, Peng, 2015. "Imitating winner or sympathizing loser? Quadratic effects on cooperative behavior in prisoners’ dilemma games," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 436(C), pages 327-337.
    8. Kealey, Terence & Ricketts, Martin, 2014. "Modelling science as a contribution good," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 1014-1024.
    9. Carbonell-Nicolau, Oriol & McLean, Richard P., 2014. "Refinements of Nash equilibrium in potential games," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(3), September.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:534:p:61-90. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.