Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mancur Olson the social scientist

Mr.Moncur Olson has been referred by Mr.Malcolm Gladwell in this book, the Tipping Point, which gives me a heavy work of internet research in social phychology.

Here's Moncur Olson and his social theoris of public choice, from wiki.


Olson offered a radically different account of the logical basis of organized collective action. His central thesis was that “only a separate and ‘selective’ incentive will stimulate a rational individual in a latent group to act in a group-oriented way”; that is, only a benefit reserved strictly for group members will motivate one to join and contribute to the group. This means that individuals will act collectively to provide private goods, but not to provide public goods.

Olson's "Logic of Collective Action" (1965) ran counter to this wisdom. Rather, he argued that individuals in any group attempting collective action will have incentives to “free ride” on the efforts of others if the group is working to provide public goods. Individuals will not “free ride” in groups which provide selective incentives only to active participants

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