The theory of collective action has long since moved beyond the “free-rider problem” as originally stated by Olson (1965). It is now recognized that large-scale participation is possible even without selective incentives, but this has raised new questions. I discuss two types of contributions from the past few years. Some of the recent literature has remained close to the canonical game-theoretic framework, clarifying many analytical issues and proving important results in participation games that had remained elusive. We now know that the “turnout paradox” had been grossly overstated. Another set of contributions has expanded the original framework, incorporating results from psychology and social sciences with the aim of obtaining more realistic models with better empirical performance.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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