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contributor's dilemma

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


E thics, political philosophy Should I contribute to public goods? If I help, I will add to the sum of benefits. But only a very small portion of the benefit I add will come back to me. Since my share of what I add will be very small, it may not repay my contribution. It may thus be better for me if I do not contribute. This can be true whatever others do. But it will be worse for everyone if fewer people contribute. This is the contributor's dilemma, and it raises the question of what difference a single altruistic choice would make in cases that involve many people and whether it is rational to contribute in such cases. In rational choice theory this dilemma is related to the problem of the free rider . “It is often claimed that, in those contributor's dilemmas that involve very many people, what each person does would make no difference.” Parfit, Reasons and Persons ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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