Olson’s Logic of Collective Action at Fifty

32 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2014 Last revised: 21 May 2014

See all articles by Paul Pecorino

Paul Pecorino

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies

Date Written: May 2014

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.

Keywords: Group Size Paradox, Free-Rider Problem, Macur Olson

JEL Classification: D7, H4

Suggested Citation

Pecorino, Paul, Olson’s Logic of Collective Action at Fifty (May 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2410487 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2410487

Paul Pecorino (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 870244
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States
205-348-0379 (Phone)
205-348-0590 (Fax)

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