Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xx

The following pages constitute a book with an unusual structure, a structure that may be hard to negotiate without an initial summary. Part of the difficulty is due to the book’s unusual genesis: although this is ostensibly a volume on the theory of collective action, my original purpose was not to write on this topic. In fact, I did not set ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxiv

It began as a quickly scribbled graph. It was not a new or unusual graph, let alone a pretty one. I had seen it hundreds of times before, only this time it looked different. But it could not yet become a book. I needed first to understand what was special about it, determine whether it merited a book, write it and then publish it. In retrospect, I am happy ...

I Theory

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1 Why Another Book on Collective Action?

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pp. 3-19

For decades, country X has suffered under the iron-fisted dictatorship of General A. Even in his advanced age, the General has continued his kleptocratic policies, impoverishing the populace while he and his entourage live in astonishing luxury. Daily, government minders send more and more reports about the growth of discontent, especially ...

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2 Rational-choice Models of Collective Action: A Generalization and Critical Assessment

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pp. 21-85

A systematic study of collective action informed by game theory must deal with the problem of multiple equilibria. Equilibrium is the polar star of game theory: the whole purpose of a game-theoretic model is to arrive at an equilibrium that can serve as its testable prediction. Yet, when a game ...

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3 The Method of Stability Sets

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pp. 87-129

In this chapter I will introduce, extend and apply the method of stability sets, the technique that will allow us to extract comparative statics results from games with multiple equilibria. The method is not new: its fundamental concepts were developed more than twenty years ago by John Harsanyi and Reinhardt Selten (Harsanyi and Selten, 1988), albeit ...

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4 The Comparative Statics of Collective Action Problems

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pp. 131-165

The time has come to put together all the theoretical elements developed in the previous chapters. In this chapter I will apply the method of stability sets to the games presented in Chapter 2 to see what new insight results. This chapter will prove one conclusion: in general, in a collective action problem, the likelihood of cooperation is a continuous function of the game’s ...

II Applications

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5 Clientelism as Political Monopoly

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pp. 177-200

Some elections, especially in the Third World, are almost literally an exercise in “Brechtian democracy” whereby the government dissolves the people and elects a new one. During the process, government officials scrutinize the track record of the populace to see how much those aspiring citizens behaved with the ruling party’s interest at ...

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6 Wage Bargaining and Redistribution

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pp. 201-247

The dichotomy between state and market has been a powerful conceptual template for understanding how the power that individuals derive from their property rights and the power they obtain from their political rights interact in contemporary societies. The study of how capitalist economies based on private property operate against ...

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7 Final Remarks

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pp. 249-258

No society can exist without collective action. Throughout all seasons, whether of innovation or restoration, of comity or enmity, of turbulence or tranquility, individuals lead their lives as members of a polity by assembling in groups. Collective action is not an instance of politics, let alone an exceptional one; it is what makes politics ...

Bibliography

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pp. 259-270

Index

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pp. 271-278