Search - List of Books by Mancur Olson

Mancur Lloyd Olson, Jr. (; January 22, 1932 — February 19, 1998) was a leading American economist and social scientist who, at the time of his death, worked at the University of Maryland, College Park. Among other areas, he made contributions to institutional economics on the role of private property, taxation, public goods, collective action and contract rights in economic development.

Olson focused on the logical basis of interest group membership and participation. The reigning political theories of his day granted groups an almost primordial status. Some appealed to a natural human instinct for herding, others ascribed the formation of groups that are rooted in kinship to the process of modernization. Olson offered a radically different account of the logical basis of organized collective action.

In his first book, Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, he theorized 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.

In 1982, he expanded the scope of his earlier work in an attempt to explain The Rise and Decline of Nations. The idea is that small distributional coalitions tend to form over time in countries. Groups like cotton-farmers, steel-producers, and labor unions will have the incentives to form lobby groups and influence policies in their favor. These policies will tend to be protectionist and anti-technology, and will therefore hurt economic growth; but since the benefits of these policies are selective incentives concentrated amongst the few coalitions members, while the costs are diffused throughout the whole population, the "Logic" dictates that there will be little public resistance to them. Hence as time goes on, and these distributional coalitions accumulate in greater and greater numbers, the nation burdened by them will fall into economic decline. Olson's idea is cited as an influence behind the Calmfors-Driffill hypothesis of collective bargaining.

In his final book, Power and Prosperity, Olson distinguished between the economic effects of different types of government, in particular, tyranny, anarchy and democracy. Olson argued that a "roving bandit" (under anarchy) has an incentive only to steal and destroy, whilst a "stationary bandit" (a tyrant) has an incentive to encourage a degree of economic success, since he will expect to be in power long enough to take a share of it. The stationary bandit thereby takes on the primordial function of government - protection of his citizens and property against roving bandits. Olson saw in the move from roving bandits to stationary bandits the seeds of civilization, paving the way for democracy, which improves incentives for good government by more closely aligning it with the wishes of the population.

To honor Olson's many contributions to the fields of Economics and Political Science, the American Political Science Association introduced the Olson Award to the best PhD dissertation in Political Economy.

Selected Works   more �

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Total Books: 15
La Logica De La Accion Colectiva / The Logic of Collective Action Bienes Publicos y lat Teoria de Grupos / Public Goods and the Theory of Groups
Die Logik des kollektiven Handelns
2004 - Die Logik Des Kollektiven Handelns (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9783161485046
ISBN-10: 3161485041
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Macht und Wohlstand Studienausgabe Kommunistische und kapitalistischen Diktaturen entwachsen
Power and Prosperity Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships
2000 - Power and Prosperity Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships (Paperback)Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780465051960
ISBN-10: 0465051960
Genre: Business & Money
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1

Power and Prosperity Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships
Die Logik des kollektiven Handelns Kollektivgter und die Theorie der Gruppen
1998 - Die Logik Des Kollektiven Handelns Kollektivgter Und Die Theorie Der Gruppen (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9783161470875
ISBN-10: 3161470877
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Aufstieg und Niedergang von Nationen  konomisches Wachstum Stagflation und soziale Starrheit
The Rise and Decline of Nations  Economic Growth Stagflation and Social Rigidities
1984 - The Rise and Decline of Nations Economic Growth Stagflation and Social Rigidities (Paperback)Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780300030792
ISBN-10: 0300030797
Genres: Business & Money, History
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2

The Rise and Decline of Nations  Economic Growth Stagflation and Social Rigidities
No Growth Society Pb
1975 - No Growth Society Pb (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780713040005
ISBN-10: 0713040009
Genres: Business & Money, Reference, Nonfiction, Engineering & Transportation
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Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and the Theory of Groups
1971 - Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and the Theory of Groups [Harvard Economic Studies] (Paperback)Paperback, Hardcover
ISBN-13: 9780674537514
ISBN-10: 0674537513
Genres: Business & Money, Nonfiction
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1

The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and the Theory of Groups
1965 - The Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and the Theory of Groups [Harvard Economic Studies] (Hardcover)Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780674537507
ISBN-10: 0674537505
Genres: Business & Money, Nonfiction
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Logic of Collective Action Public Goods and the Theory of Groups
Capitalism Socialism and Dictatorship Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships
Capitalism Socialism and Dictatorship Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships [Conference Proceedings: Washington, D.C., 12-13 April 1996, and Luxembourg, 24-25 January 1997] (Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9782919989089
ISBN-10: 2919989081
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Umfassende Okonomie
Umfassende Okonomie [Die Einheit der Gesellschaftswissenschaften - German Edition] (Other)
ISBN-13: 9783163454606
ISBN-10: 3163454607
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