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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Mancur Olson’s 1965 book The Logic ofCollective Action, which offers an in-depth analysis of the role of organized interests and is considered a classic work in the field of public policy. It explains how policy scholars should understand Olson’s contributions in light of work on the politics of interest representation, first by reviewing his central thesis, especially his claims about individual and institutional mobilization in relation to the collective action hypothesis. In particular, it examines the many ways his claims about individual and institutional mobilization have been modified, hedged, and sometimes contradicted by research on interest representation. The chapter then assesses the implications of Olson’s analysis for public policy in terms of how the diversity of interest communities should bias public policy outcomes and influence economic growth. Finally, it emphasizes how Olson’s work tends to be over- and underappreciated by students of both organized interests and public policy.

Keywords: Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action, organized interests, public policy, politics, mobilization, interest representation, economic growth, collective action hypothesis

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