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Estimating Free-Riding Behavior: The StratAM Model

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Martin C. Steinwand*
Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 e-mail:


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.

Copyright © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology 

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