Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 14 No. 3 (Summer 2000)


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Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms

Article Citation

Ostrom, Elinor. 2000. "Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3): 137-158.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.3.137


I assume multiple types of players--"rational egoists," as well as "conditional cooperators" and "willing punishers"--in models of nonmarket behavior. I use an indirect evolutionary approach to explain how multiple types of players could survive and flourish in social dilemma situations. Contextual variables that enhance knowledge about past behavior assist in explaining the origin of collective action. Among the important contextual variables are types of goods, types of groups, and rules that groups use to provide and allocate goods. Finally, I reexamine a series of design principles that were derived earlier from an examination of extensive case materials.

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Ostrom, Elinor (IN U)

JEL Classifications

Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology


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