Michael Chwe

Paper #: 96-12-092

This paper considers both structural and strategic influences on collective action. Each person in a group wants to participate only if the total number participating is at least her threshold; people use a social network to communicate their thresholds. Results include: cliques form the common knowledge sufficient, and in some sense necessary, for collective action; dispersion of “insurgents,” people strongly predisposed toward collective action, can be good for collective action but too much dispersion can be bad; classic “bandwagon” models overstate the fragility of collective action.