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POL SCI 21A- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 47 pages long!)


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL SCI 21A
Professor
Matthew Beckmann
Study Guide
Midterm

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UC-Irvine
POL SCI 21A
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Lecture 2: the problem of collective action (CAPs)
-CAPs: situations in which rational behavior on the part of individuals leads to outcomes everyone
dislikes
-Three types:
1. Coordination Problems: Occurs when each member of the collectivity agrees on what it wants;
each is prepared to contribute to the collective effort but must figure out how to coordinate
his/her effort with those of others
i.e radio statios, street sigs, flight istrutios Eglish…
Prisoer’s Dileas: Arise he idiiduals ho would be better off supporting a group
agreement have incentives to help themselves instead (and at the expense of the group; free
rider, tragedy of the common)
2. Free-Rider Problems: Everyone wants some collective good, but everyone also has incentives
not to help attain it; idiiduals are tepted to ithhold their otriutio to the group’s efforts
-Occurs when contributing..
. Wo’t itself ake a differee
. Wo’t get ou etra eefit
i.e) national defense
3. Tragedy of the Common Problems: Everyone wants some collective good, but everyone also has
incentives not to help preserve it; individuals are tempted to squander a collective good
-Ours he otriutig…
. Wo’t itself ake a differee
2. Benefits you regardless of what anyone else does
i.e) overfishing
Wh is it a prole?
Even well-intentioned people who all agree about what should be done might not be able to do it!
Worse yet, you often deal with folks who are neither well-intentioned nor agreeable
Thoas Hoes haoti orld: the state of ature
“olig the prole
People often cooperate, contribute, or otherwise solve such dilemmas
Angier article
The more people involved, the harder it gets to solve the problem in an ad hoe fashion
The Genesis of Government
Societies create a government that helps ensure its members coordinate and cooperate
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Lecture 3
Most people hear what they want to hear and, therefore, interpret things in ways that assume
agreement
-Ambiguity is often rewarded
Designing Government
-to iiize politiia’s ailit to hide their atios fro oters
-to aiize oter’s ability to reward/punish them in response
Solving CAPs
Agier’s Wh e’re ie artile
-just two people working together can solve CAPs on their own
-the more people involved, the harder it gets to solve these problems in an ad hoc fashion
-this is’t ecause people are malicious or even disagreeable. CAPs can arise even when everyone
agrees on what they want to do
-it’s just that the either do’t ko ho to help oordiatio or do’t at to e saps if the
do (free-rider/tragedy of the commons)
CRUCIAL Q: If individuals often get mired in CAPs, how do we survive?
Genesis of Gov: create a gov. that helps ensure we COORDINATE and COOPERATE
-We willingly give up some personal freedom in order to secure collective benefits
-Social Contract: the notion that individuals are bound by an agreement to form society
Solving the Problem of Collective Action
Gov does two things
1. Making the Decision: A guide for how members make decisions in the face of disagreement
Some of the Basic Operations: Vote (e.g. majorit rule, Delegate to a represetatie, Other
stuff (e.g. Rosh for it; flip a coin; take turns)
2. Enforcing:
Options for Enforcing the Decision: Coercion (e.g. prison; torture; death), Selective incentives
(impose penalties (tickets, taxes)
Why Gov?
A Fund. Danger
-I giig a go eough poer to efored olletie agreeets, hat’s to keep it fro usig that
power to do whatever it wants?
-Federalist 51
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