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The Political Economy of Collective Action, Inequality, and Development$
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William D. Ferguson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781503604612

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503604612.001.0001

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Toward a Framework for Development Theory

(p.1) Introduction
The Political Economy of Collective Action, Inequality, and Development

William D. Ferguson

Stanford University Press

How can social scientists address the complexity of the myriad interrelations between economic development, political development, inequality, and human ability to achieve cooperative collective action across groups and populations of individuals from different backgrounds who hold widely divergent positions, interests, and perceptions? This book navigates the difficult terrain between universal-principle, one-size-fits-all frameworks, on the one hand, and approaches that insist that every society is unique, on the other. Using principles of political economy outlined in five core developmental hypotheses, as well as a method for drawing distinctions between basic types of political-economic context, this book constructs a typology that relates distributions of power to specific configurations of institutional systems and social orders. Each component of the typology points to specific types of collective-action problems that condition a society’s ability to achieve economic and political development. Policy analysis should pay attention to such contextual influence.

Keywords:   collective action, conceptual framework, typology, political-economic context, institutional system, social order, research program, development

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