HARVARD ECONOMIC STUDIES
Cover: The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, With a New Preface and Appendix, from Harvard University PressCover: The Logic of Collective Action in PAPERBACK

Harvard Economic Studies 124

The Logic of Collective Action

Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, With a New Preface and Appendix

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Product Details

PAPERBACK

$34.50 • £27.95 • €31.00

ISBN 9780674537514

Publication Date: 01/01/1971

Short

208 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

1 figure

Harvard Economic Studies

World

The existence of a large group with a common interest does not automatically give rise to collective action. There must be an individual incentive to join in or there must be compulsion. This proposition, together with the notion that small groups are qualitatively different from large ones, forms the core of this extremely stimulating book… The range of phenomena it helps to explain and the number of existing ideas it overthrows are very considerable. Having set out his theory of groups and organizations…the author demonstrates its explanatory power by examining the growth of trade unionism, the concept of economic freedom, Marx’s class theory, orthodox theories of pressure groups, special interest groups and, lastly, the unorganized groups. Economic analysis is blended with political theory and sociology with great success. The result is an important contribution to social science.The Economist

This superb little volume is worthy of the attention of all social scientists. It can lead to a healthy and challenging discussion and perhaps to a reappraisal of pressure groups in American society.Public Opinion Quarterly

Olson’s book is a significant and valuable contribution to the economist’s attempt to come to grips with organizational problems.—Neil W. Chamberlain, American Economic Review

There is now a considerable body of literature which attempts to apply economic analysis to political problems. In my opinion, Olson’s is one of the most successful and provocative of these attempts. Olson’s central insight is novel and illuminating to political scientists and he shows that by the use of it he can give familiar facts (about labor unions, farm organizations, and other interest groups) new meaning. I believe that his work is going to force the jettisoning of much of what has been said about interest groups and the revision of the rest. It should also have an influence on the many political scientists who work in the field of organization.—Edward C. Banfield, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Urban Government, Harvard University

Awards & Accolades

  • 1994 Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award, Political Organizations and Parties Section of the American Political Science Association
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