Exclusive group formation as a collective action problem

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Title: Exclusive group formation as a collective action problem
Author: Crosson, Scott, 1970-
Abstract: By traditional economic reasoning, the production and sale of private goods is assumed to be efficient in a pure market because only the owners of privately held goods can access and enjoy them. In contrast, public goods are likely to be under supplied, because individuals can free ride on the contributions of others. Citizens can solve the free rider problem either spontaneously or through the use of coercive tools such as taxation. However, such solutions will rarely be efficient. An alternative solution, seldom studied by political scientists, is the formation of clubs. Clubs exist to provide semi-public goods to their members. If only contributing members of a club can access its product (the club good), the club should be free of the free-rider problem. Because club goods are finite and rivalrous, clubs are subject to "crowding effects"; that is, per-member benefits will decline if clubs grow too large. Clubs can minimize this crowding by limiting the size of their membership. Clubs are traditionally formulated as consumer- driven arrangements, driven solely by the wealth-maximizing preferences of their memberships and not by external concerns. In an experimental setting, this dissertation demonstrates that clubs also tolerate crowding if club membership is the sole source of some club good for otherwise excluded individuals. Club members can minimize the effects of this crowding by making multilateral promises not to overuse the club good. This means that clubs members do consider the social ramifications of the club's membership policies, and those membership policies respond to government action (specifically, the presence of other funding for excluded individuals). This has implications for both the study of clubs and the associations that resemble them: firms, coalitions, and communities.
Description: vii, 95 p. : ill. A print copy of this title is available through the UO Libraries under the call numbers: KNIGHT HB846.5 .C76 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/10451
Date: 2000-08


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