USCA American Government Discussion

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POLI 201 – American Government

Response Assignment #1

Read chapter 1 of your textbook (entitled: Introductionn which is included in the file). In particular, read the sections entitled “The Collective Action Problem and the Tragedy of the Commons” and “Democracy is Subject to the Collective Action Problem” carefully.

Then read the following webpages:

In a single word document, answer ALL OF THE following questions. The responses should be double-spaced and two to three full pages for full credit. Clearly label where one question ends and the next begins. Each question is worth 25% of your grade for this response. The response itself is worth 5% of your total grade.

1. Identify one of the collective action problems faced in American government and discussed in one of the above webpages. What is the public good in this case? Who are the free-riders? How does the failure to achieve collective action negatively impact society?

2. The paradox of the collective action problem is it is a situation where if everyone behaves rationally (does what logically benefits themselves), then everybody loses. Explain why this is.

3. Suppose that the point betting activity I did in class is extended to the whole university (i.e. if three fourths of all USCA students take a 10 point penalty on their first exam in a course, everyone gets 15 points back). What could be done to make the university more likely to succeed in its goal? In answering this question, use the principles and lessons of collective action.

4. How does the collective action problem relate to the question of why we need government?

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