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COLLECTIVE ACTION
Created by Zach Wilhide, M.A. 2016
License: CC-BY-NC
Picture Source: “Join or Die” by Benjamin Franklin;...
Collective Action
• The ability of groups to
develop and
implement
agreements.
• Ideally, the
government helps spur
this o...
Coordination
• Generally, the larger the group, the more likely coordination
problems will arise.
• A focal point is a nec...
Focal Point Examples
• Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon showing the colonists the
importance of unifying to fight the ...
Prisoner’s Dilemma
• Two people are caught robbing a bank and charged with
armed robbery. The cops separate the two for qu...
Prisoner’s Dilemma
• Odds are that both Prisoners A and B will confess to mitigate
the risk of their partner confessing. T...
Real World Prisoner’s
Dilemmas—Free Riders
• Free Riders are individuals who benefit from a public good,
but do not assume...
RealWorldPrisoner’sDilemmas—Tragedyofthe
Commons
• If everyone pursues their own self interests, the entire group suffers....
Sources
• Harrison, Brigid and Jean Harris. American Democracy
Now. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015.
• Kernell, Samuel...
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Collective Action

Zack Wilhide
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Collective Action

  1. 1. COLLECTIVE ACTION Created by Zach Wilhide, M.A. 2016 License: CC-BY-NC Picture Source: “Join or Die” by Benjamin Franklin; License: {{PD-1923}} ;Url: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Benjamin_Franklin_-_Join_or_Die.png
  2. 2. Collective Action • The ability of groups to develop and implement agreements. • Ideally, the government helps spur this on by creating an environment conducive to people working together. There are two barriers to collective action— 1. Coordination 2. Prisoner’s Dilemma Source: Kernell, Samuel, Gary Jacobson, and Thad Kousser. "The Constitution." The Logic of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012. Print.
  3. 3. Coordination • Generally, the larger the group, the more likely coordination problems will arise. • A focal point is a necessity when large group coordination is desired. • See the next slide for examples of focal points. Source: Kernell, Samuel, Gary Jacobson, and Thad Kousser. "The Constitution." The Logic of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012. Print.
  4. 4. Focal Point Examples • Ben Franklin’s “Join or Die” cartoon showing the colonists the importance of unifying to fight the French in the Seven Years’ War. • Thomas Paine’s Common Sense provided a focal point for the American Revolution. • Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were focal points for the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. • American presidential candidates act as focal points for their respective parties.
  5. 5. Prisoner’s Dilemma • Two people are caught robbing a bank and charged with armed robbery. The cops separate the two for questioning. The following deal is presented to both prisoners. • If Prisoner A confesses and B stays quiet then A goes free and B serves 30 years, and vice versa. • If both confess then both serve a 10- year sentence. • If both stay quiet they serve a one -year sentence. Which is the best decision to make?
  6. 6. Prisoner’s Dilemma • Odds are that both Prisoners A and B will confess to mitigate the risk of their partner confessing. This will result in each prisoner serving a ten-year sentence. • If there was dialogue and trust in the relationship then both prisoners would stay quiet and only serve one year in jail. However, because both wanted everything (no jail time) they each wound up serving ten-year sentences. • We see this dilemma in American politics. If both the Republicans and Democrats refuse to compromise then they wind up with less-than-optimal results like government shut- downs, gridlock, etc.
  7. 7. Real World Prisoner’s Dilemmas—Free Riders • Free Riders are individuals who benefit from a public good, but do not assume any of the costs associated with creation or upkeep. • It is within their best interest to enjoy all of the benefits (government services) without incurring any costs (taxes). • At some point, we are all free riders. • According to rational choice theory—it is not rational for people to work for something they can get for free. Sources: Harrison, Brigid and Jean Harris. American Democracy Now. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015. Kernell, Samuel, Gary Jacobson, and Thad Kousser. "The Constitution." The Logic of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012. Print. Rauch, Jonathan. "Was Mancur Olson Wrong?" The American. The American Enterprise Institute, 15 Feb. 2011. Web. <http://www.american.com/archive/2013/february/was- mancur-olson-wrong>.
  8. 8. RealWorldPrisoner’sDilemmas—Tragedyofthe Commons • If everyone pursues their own self interests, the entire group suffers. • An example of this is the collapse of the New England cod fishing industry. Fisherman, eager to make more money, over-fished the area without allowing adequate time for the fish population to recover. This led to fewer fish for everyone. • Regulation can help prevent this from occurring. By establishing and enforcing quotas the government can ensure everyone is able to enjoy resources. Source: Kernell, Samuel, Gary Jacobson, and Thad Kousser. "The Constitution." The Logic of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012. Print. Picture Source: “Gadus_morhua_2.jpg” License: Public Domain. URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gadus_morhua_2.jpg
  9. 9. Sources • Harrison, Brigid and Jean Harris. American Democracy Now. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015. • Kernell, Samuel, Gary Jacobson, and Thad Kousser. "The Constitution." The Logic of American Politics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012. Print. • Rauch, Jonathan. "Was Mancur Olson Wrong?" The American. The American Enterprise Institute, 15 Feb. 2011. Web. <http://www.american.com/archive/2013/february/was- mancur-olson-wrong>.

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