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Self-enforcing norms and efficient non-cooperative collective action in the provision of public goods

Abstract

We show how norms can solve the distributional conflict inside a group in an anarchic environment and yield efficient coordination of collective action in a conflict with an external competitor. The equilibrium of the fully non-cooperative game with finite horizon has two interesting features. First, one of the players assumes a central role that resembles the role of the ‘big-man’ in some primitive stateless societies. Second, the group members’ contributions to collective output and the payments from the big-man to these members seemingly look like reciprocal behavior, even though they are driven by narrowly selfish preferences.

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Correspondence to Kai A. Konrad.

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Konrad, K.A., Leininger, W. Self-enforcing norms and efficient non-cooperative collective action in the provision of public goods. Public Choice 146, 501–520 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-010-9600-2

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Keywords

  • Free-riding
  • Collective action
  • Anarchy
  • Distributional conflict
  • War
  • Norms
  • Big-man

JEL Classification

  • D72
  • D74
  • H11
  • H41