External Threat and Collective Action

12 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2006

See all articles by Emerson Niou

Emerson Niou

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Guofu Tan

University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Abstract

This article studies how players allocate their endowed resources between productive and conflictual activities in the context of rivalry between two groups. We show that the suboptimality and exploitation propositions established by Olson (1965) do not necessarily apply when external threat is endogenized. We also illustrate that it does not always pay to take an offensive stance. When competing with an offensive group, it might be better for members of a defensive group to remain defensive. Furthermore, in the context of rivalry between two groups, free riding can actually benefit everyone in the system. (JEL D70, D74)

Suggested Citation

Niou, Emerson and Tan, Guofu, External Threat and Collective Action. Economic Inquiry, Vol. 43, Issue 3, pp. 519-530, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=906249

Emerson Niou (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Guofu Tan

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-3520 (Phone)

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