Wealth and governance in unstable states : South Africa as a context for Mancur Olson's theory of collective action
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Mancur Olson's theory of collective action has primarily been construed and applied to developed countries with formal economies and (generally) socio-political stability. Yet, he asserted that his theory of collective action would apply in developing countries, even those which are far less stable. This study examined Olson's assertion that collective action applies in developing countries, using South Africa as a case study. The empirical analyses included canonical correlation analysis and generalized additive models, using attribute, spatial, and temporal data to understand the spatial and temporal dynamics between wealth and governance in South Africa. Geographic clustering by race and economic class remains persistent despite democratic reforms and improved governance engagement. In addition, findings of the empirical analyses were used to evaluate Olson's theory of collective action and frame the policy implications. Collective action is consistent with findings, but, in the context of developing countries, ought to include more prominent considerations of path dependency, increasing returns, and historical institutionalism.
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