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

Autor: 

Konrad, Kai A. / Leininger, Wolfgang

Leadership by a "big-man" has been observed as a successful governance structure in several historical contexts with small groups. We illustrate this by way of examples and analyse this framework in the context of non-cooperative games with narrowly selfish players. We show how norms solve the distributional conflict inside a group and yield efficient coordination of collective action in a conflict with an external competitor. In the equilibrium one of the players assumes a central role that resembles the role of the "big-man" in the empirical examples. Also, the group members' contributions to collective output and the donations from the big-man to these members seemingly look like reciprocal behavior, even though they are driven by narrowly selfish preferences in a fully non-cooperative equilibrium of a multi-stage game.

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Veröffentlichung:   Public Choice, 2011, 146(3-4), S. 501-520.