IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Group Size And The Logic Of Collective Action:

Listed author(s):
  • Rickard Sandell
  • Charlotta Stern

In this paper we address the free-rider problem from a network perspective. We suggest that individuals' groups of relevant others are considerably smaller than is usually assumed in the Olsonian tradition. Instead of focusing on the interest group as a whole, we argue that a group of relevant others consists of those to whom the individual is tied through various social bonds. Since these groups tend to be small, social selective incentives are likely to be efficient in inducing individual participation. In testing these ideas empirically, we use microdata on members of a Swedish temperance movement organization during the period of 1896-1937. We estimate how individuals' groups of relevant others are composed with respect to membership in the movement organization and how the composition of the groups affects individuals' decisions to join the movement organization. The results of the analysis support our thesis that additional movement members in the group of relevant others increase an individual's propensity to join a social movement organization. However, the results also lend support to Olson's free-rider thesis: When controlling for the composition of the group of relevant others, additional members in the movement as a whole decrease an individual's propensity to join the movement.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by in its journal Rationality and Society.

Volume (Year): 10 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 327-345

in new window

Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:10:y:1998:i:3:p:327-345
Contact details of provider:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:10:y:1998:i:3:p:327-345. 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: (SAGE Publications)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.