Goods, Games, and Institutions

Vinod K. Aggarwal and Cédric Dupont

International Political Science Review, 1999

International institutions can help to overcome the problem of supplying goods that are difficult to restrict in terms of consumption. Yet the links between the characteristics of goods, the nature of strategic interaction between actors, and the effectiveness or need for international institutions have not been systematically treated. This article tries to remedy this gap by providing a systematic analysis of the problem of the provision of two types of goods—public goods and common pool resources (CPRs). It starts by examining the characteristics of these goods, and then derives some simple game structures that correspond to different assumptions about the costs and benefits of these goods and variations in actors’ capabilities. It then discusses the links between games and institutional solutions. In doing this, the authors are able to encompass previous analytical work and open up new avenues for empirical studies of collective action.

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