Journal Article

Estimating Free-Riding Behavior: The StratAM Model

Martin C. Steinwand

in Political Analysis

Published on behalf of Political Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association

Volume 19, issue 4, pages 488-502
Published in print October 2011 | ISSN: 1047-1987
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1476-4989 | DOI:
Estimating Free-Riding Behavior: The StratAM Model

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Spatial statistical methods in political science provide a tool to deal with spatial and other forms of interdependence in observational data. In this article, I derive a statistical model from a game of impure public goods provision. The resulting strategic autoregressive model (StratAM) allows the researcher to systematically explore the sources of free-riding behavior in the provision of public goods. The StratAM model is tightly related to the well-known spatial autoregressive (SAR) model and can be estimated in a maximum likelihood framework. I demonstrate the use of the StratAM model by analyzing free riding in the provision of foreign aid. Indicators of developmental needs and good governance strongly increase free-riding during the 1990s. Free-riding patterns in the 2000s are more similar to Cold War patterns.

Journal Article.  7761 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

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