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Olson’s Logic of Collective Action at fifty

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  • Paul Pecorino

Abstract

In the 50 years since its publication, Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action has had an enormous impact on the academic literature in both economics and political science. In this review essay, I discuss Olson’s work in light of the ensuing research, particularly developments in the theoretical literature. Much of the discussion focuses on the group-size paradox as applied to politics, i.e., the extent to which the group-size paradox can explain why the interests of some groups are better represented in the political process than others. I also discuss selective incentives with an emphasis on the byproduct mechanism under which a firm sells a private good and uses the resulting profits to provide a public good. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

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  • Paul Pecorino, 2015. "Olson’s Logic of Collective Action at fifty," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 243-262, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:162:y:2015:i:3:p:243-262
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-014-0186-y
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    1. Kamei, Kenju, 2020. "Group size effect and over-punishment in the case of third party enforcement of social norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 395-412.
    2. Levine, David K. & Modica, Salvatore, 2017. "Size, fungibility, and the strength of lobbying organizations," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 71-83.
    3. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2019. "Group cooperation against an incumbent," Working Papers hal-02378829, HAL.
    4. Paan Jindapon & Zhe Yang, 2020. "Free riders and the optimal prize in public‐good funding lotteries," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1289-1312, September.
    5. Roger D. Congleton, 2015. "The Logic of Collective Action and Beyond," Working Papers 15-23, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. Nora Ilona Elek, 2017. "Cross-National Differences In The Trade Union Movement On The Basis Of Institutions," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 133-141, July.
    7. Wolfgang Buchholz & Todd Sandler, 2016. "Olson’s exploitation hypothesis in a public good economy: a reconsideration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(1), pages 103-114, July.
    8. Roger Congleton, 2015. "The Logic of Collective Action and beyond," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 217-234, September.
    9. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Iryna Topolyan, 2016. "Best-shot versus weakest-link in political lobbying: an application of group all-pay auction," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(4), pages 959-971, December.
    10. Todd Sandler, 2015. "Collective action: fifty years later," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 195-216, September.

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