Collective Action

Front Cover
Resources for the Future, 1982 - Nature - 248 pages
2 Reviews
Public choice, an important subdiscipline in the field of political theory, seeks to understand how people and societies make decisions affecting their collective lives. Relying heavily on theoretical models of decision making, public choice postulates that people act in their individual interests in making collective decisions. As it happens, however, reality does not mirror theory, and people often act contrary to what the principal public choice models suggest. In this book, Russell Hardin looks beyond the models to find out why people choose to act together in situations that the models find quite hopeless. He uses three constructs of modern political economy--public goods, the Prisoner's Dilemma, and game theory--to test public choice theories against real world examples of collective action. These include movements important in American society in the past few decades--civil rights, the Vietnam War, women's rights, and environmental concerns. This classic work on public choice will be of interest to theoreticians and graduate students in the fields of public choice, political economy, or political theory--and to those in other disciplines who are concerned with the problem of collective action in social contexts.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
COLLECTIVE ACTION AND PRISONERS DILEMMA
16
GROUP SIZE
38
TYPES OF COLLECTIVE ACTION PROBLEMS
50
ASYMMETRIES IN COLLECTIVE ACTION
67
CONTRACTARIAN PROVISIONS
90
EXTRARATIONAL MOTIVATIONS
101
DYNAMIC ANALYSIS OF COLLECTIVE ACTION
125
CONTRACT BY CONVENTION
155
ENFORCEMENT OF CONVENTIONS
173
LIMITS TO CONTRACT BY CONVENTION
188
CONTRACT BY CONVENTION IN SOCIAL THEORY
206
CONTRACT BY CONVENTION IN POLITICS
220
BIBLIOGRAPHY
231
INDEX
241
Copyright

RATIONALITY IN THE PRISONERS DILEMMA
138

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About the author (1982)

Russell Hardin is professor of politics at New York University. His recent books include Indeterminacy and Society and Trust and Trustworthiness.

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