Logic of Collective Action

Discipline: Political Science

Theory of the operation of political groups described by American political scientist Mancur Olson (1932-1998).

Rational calculation of self interest will lead people to 'free ride'. Workers will enjoy a pay raise negotiated by a union whether they are members of it or not, and so need extra incentives if they are to be active supporters of the union. Rational self interest alone will not therefore explain why organizations successfully promote 'public goods' which people can enjoy whether or not they worked to secure them.

Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Cambridge, Mass., 1965)


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