IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

Public Action for Public Goods

  • Banerjee, Abhijit
  • Iyer, Lakshmi
  • Somanathan, Rohini

This paper focuses on the relationship between public action and access to public goods. It begins by developing a simple model to capture the various mechanisms that are discussed in the theoretical literature on collective action. We use the model to illustrate the special assumptions embedded in many popular theories of collective action and show how their apparently conflicting predictions can be reconciled in a more general framework. This is followed by a review of empirical research on collective action and public goods. These studies, while broadly consistent with the theoretical literature, account for a small part of the observed variation in provision. Access to public goods is often better explained by "top-down" interventions rather than the "bottom-up" processes highlighted in the collective action literature. We conclude with a discussion of some historically important interventions of this type.

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: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • T. Paul Schultz & John A. Strauss (ed.), 2008. "Handbook of Development Economics," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 5, January.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Development Economics with number 5-49.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:devchp:5-49
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    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:eee:devchp:5-49. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

    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.