When Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Barrel? An Evolutionary Analysis of Collective Action

DAVID P. MYATT, CHRIS WALLACE
2008 The Review of Economic Studies  
This paper studies n-player collective-action games in which a public good is produced if and only if m or more volunteers contribute to it. Quantalresponse strategy revisions allow play to move between equilibria in which a team of m players successfully provide, and an equilibrium in which the collective action fails. A full characterisation of long-run play reveals the determinants of success. These include the correlation between players' costs of provision and their valuations for the
more » ... ations for the good. The addition of an extra "bad apple" player can "spoil the barrel" by destabilising successful teams. A contemporary application is the team-based provision of open-source software. The analysis reveals the features of successful open-source projects, and suggests a rationale for limiting the pool of possible contributors. 1 Date Printed. June 22, 2006 (Collv5.tex). JEL Classification. C72, C73, and H41.
doi:10.1111/j.1467-937x.2008.00482.x fatcat:uscigekg4rhyphdx7elrmcnjmy