- The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science
- The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics
- About the Contributors
- Multicausality, Context‐Conditionality, and Endogeneity
- Historical Enquiry and Comparative Politics
- The Case Study: What it is and What it Does
- Field Research
- Is the Science of Comparative Politics Possible?
- From Case Studies to Social Science: A Strategy for Political Research
- Collective Action Theory
- War, Trade, and State Formation
- Compliance, Consent, and Legitimacy
- National Identity
- Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict
- Mass Beliefs and Democratic Institutions
- What Causes Democratization?
- Democracy and Civic Culture
- Dictatorship: Analytical Approaches
- Rethinking Revolutions: a Neo‐Tocquevillian Perspective
- Civil Wars
- Contentious Politics and Social Movements
- Mechanisms of Globalized Protest Movements
- The Emergence of Parties and Party Systems
- Party Systems
- Voters and Parties
- Parties and Voters in Emerging Democracies
- Political Clientelism
- Political Activism: New Challenges, New Opportunities
- Aggregating and Representing Political Preferences
- Electoral Systems
- Separation of Powers
- Comparative Judicial Politics
- Coalition Theory and Government Formation
- Comparative Studies of the Economy and the Vote
- Context‐Conditional Political Budget Cycles
- The Welfare State in Global Perspective
- The Poor Performance of Poor Democracies
- Accountability and the Survival of Governments
- Economic Transformation and Comparative Politics
- Subject Index
- Name Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article discusses collective action theory and focuses on three broad tropics. It first examines the growing and extensive theoretical literature that posits a host of structural variables presumed to affect the likelihood of individuals achieving collective action to overcome social dilemmas. It studies how a theory of boundedly rational, norm-based human behaviour is a better foundation for explaining collective action than a model of maximizing material payoffs to self. The article also discusses the link between structural measures and core individual relationships. It ends by reflecting on the challenge that political scientists face in testing collective action theory in light of the large number of variables posited to affect outcomes.
Elinor Ostrom is Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science; Co‐Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University; and Founding Director, Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University.
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