:

1. Incentivize Participation: Create incentives for individuals to participate in collective action/goods problems through rewards or recognition.

2. Facilitate Collaboration: Create an environment that encourages collaboration and collective action/goods problem solving.

3. Increase Awareness: Increase public awareness and understanding of collective action/goods problems, their causes and potential solutions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Logic_of_Collective_Action#The Three Broad Principles To Solve Collective Action/Goods Problems Are

Book by Mancur Olson
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(August 2021)

The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and Group Theory is a book of Mancur Olson Jr. published in 1965. Develops a theory of political science and economy in concentrated benefits versus diffuse costs. Its central argument is that concentrated minority interests will be over-represented and diffuse majority interests will be overcome, due to a hitchhiking problem which is stronger when a group gets bigger.

Overview

The book challenged the accepted wisdom of Olson’s day that:

  1. if everyone in a group (of any size) has common interests, they will act collectively to achieve them; and
  2. on a democracythe biggest concern is that the majority will tyrannize and exploit the minority.

Rather, the book argues that individuals in any group who try to collective action will have incentives tofree ride” on the efforts of others if the group is working to provide public goods. Individuals will not “piggyback” on groups that provide benefits only to active members.

Pure public goods are goods that are non-excludable (that is, one person cannot reasonably prevent another from consuming the good) and non-rival (one person’s consumption of the good does not affect that of another, nor vice versa). Therefore, without selective incentives to motivate participation, collective action is unlikely to occur even when there are large groups of people with common interests.

The book noted that large groups will face relatively high costs when trying to organize for collective action, while small groups will face relatively low costs, and individuals in large groups will gain less per capita from successful collective action. Thus, in the absence of selection incentivesthe incentive for group action decreases as group size increases, so large groups are less able to act in their common interest than small ones.

The book concludes that not only is collective action by large groups difficult to achieve, even when they have common interests, but situations can also arise where the minority (united by concentrated selective incentives) can dominate the majority.

criticism

Olson’s original rationale for collective action has received a number of criticisms, based on a different interpretation of observations about the representation of minority interests or a disagreement about the degree of representation of concentrated interests.

asymmetric information

Lohmann agrees with Olson’s cryptic remarks, which she dismisses as economic and political puzzles. Economic puzzles are cases of loss of general welfare in favor of a minority benefit that is smaller in sum. One example she gives is a US sugar import quota, which generates 2,261 jobs at the expense of an overall welfare reduction of $1,162 million (Hufbauer and Elliott, 1994). So the implied price for a job in the sugar industry is above $500,000, allowing significant room for Pareto Improvement. Political puzzles are cases where the minority trumps the majority. One example she gives is the rural bias in urbanized countries, such as Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union.

Lohmann claims that Olson hitchhiking problem is insufficient to explain these puzzles. Instead, she argues that they are due to uncertainty (asymmetric information between actors) when special interest groups assess how political actors advance their interests. She states that everyone can be considered a special interest. Since everyone is (relatively) sure how well their interests are represented, they give more weight to the representation of their interests when evaluating political actors than to the overall benefit. Lohmann argues that it might be politically feasible to focus on separate narrow interests at the expense of general benefits.

Legitimacy

Trumbull rejects Olson and Lohmann’s observation that vested interests dominate public policy. He points out that, historically, diffuse interests almost always found ways to be represented in public policies, such as the interests of retirees, patients or consumers. Trumbull explains this with the legitimizing role of policy-promoting interest groups. He argues that diffuse interests have a legitimacy premium when they manage to mobilize, while concentrated interests are viewed with suspicion. He describes the concept of legitimacy coalitions, which are coalitions between state policy makers, social activists or industry to promote a particular policy. By having to form a coalition, interests are more widely represented. An example of such a coalition is the post-war neo-corporatist system.

Critical mass

Marwell and Oliver use mathematical and computational models to show that several of the assumptions made by Olson are unrealistic and, if relaxed, the behavior of a system of rational agents changes dramatically. One assumption is that the “production function” of goods is linear. If this function accelerates instead, then a critical mass of early contributors can encourage a large number of others to contribute. Another assumption is that the cost of the good is a function of the size of the group that would benefit from it. For many public goods this is not true, and Marwell and Oliver show that when the interest group is larger, it is more likely to include someone for whom it is rational to provide the good, either partially or fully.

Cost-benefit distribution

James Q. Wilson argues that Olson’s idea does not include all political constellations and therefore cannot be a holistic solution to explain collective actions. For this argument, Wilson explains that costs and benefits are subcategorized into diffuse and concentrated costs and benefits. Olson’s constellation, in his view, is just one that deals with diffused costs and concentrated benefits.

See too

References


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Search keywords The Three Broad Principles To Solve Collective Action/Goods Problems Are

1. Voluntary Participation: Allowing individuals to voluntarily participate in collective action/goods solutions.
2. Group Benefits: Ensuring that collective action/goods solutions benefit the group as a whole.
3. Positive Incentives: Offering positive incentives to encourage individuals to participate in collective action/goods solutions.
4. Collective Decision Making: Establishing collective decision-making processes to ensure fair and equitable outcomes.
5. Cost Sharing: Sharing the costs of collective action/goods solutions among members of the group.
6. Collective Action/Goods Problems: Understanding the root causes of collective action/goods problems and finding solutions.
7. Group Cohesion: Building group cohesion to ensure collective action/goods solutions are successful.
8. Social Pressure: Utilizing social pressure to encourage individuals to participate in collective action/goods solutions.
9. Collective Responsibility: Establishing collective responsibility for collective action/goods solutions.
10. Collective Bargaining: Leveraging collective bargaining to ensure collective action/goods solutions are mutually beneficial.
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