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The Rationality of the Free Ride

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Mueller, Ulrich O.; Chanowitz, Benzion; Langer, Ellen
Conference: Annual Meeting of the Public Choice Society
Location: Savannah, GA
Conf. Date: March 24-26
Date: 1983
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8234
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): free riding
collective action
common pool resources
Abstract: "In this paper I will argue the following points:(1) Prescriptive and descriptive solutions to the free rider problem are insufficient, when they either demand the establishment of institutions or point to the existence of institutions which are able to prevent people from taking a free ride, but fail to explain how these institutions can actually develop during biological or cultural evolution. (2) That a certain behavior is good for the group or the society does not necessarily mean that it has a chance to evolve and to become stabilized if it is potentially harmful to the individual who displays this behavior. This is possible only under certain conditions the study of which is an important issue of modern theoretical population biology. Some of the relevant findings will be described. (3) These findings have an enormous impact on the further limes of development of theoretical as well as empirical research in the public goods/free rider field. A conceptual framework for theoretical research as well as the design of an experimental study under way will be presented."

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