The Evolutionary Basis of Collective Action

Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis

in The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548477
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577437 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

The Evolutionary Basis of Collective Action

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  • Comparative Politics
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This article discusses two problems in the study of political behaviours that support collective action. It reviews recent behavioural experiments documenting the variety and extent of these so called social preferences, as well as the manner in which the existence of individuals — even a minority — can affect group behaviour dramatically. This article shows that repeated interactions and kin-based altruism do not provide an adequate account of the forms of cooperation detected in natural and experimental settings.

Keywords: collective action; political behaviours; behavioural experiments; social preferences; interactions; kin-based altruism; cooperation

Article.  6974 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions

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