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Free Riding as Mechanism

Listed author(s):
  • SALMON, Pierre

    (LATEC - CNRS UMR 5601- Université de Bourgogne)

Free-riding is methodologically puzzling. It is at the same time important and often not observed as an actual phenomenon. The paper explores the possibility of treating free riding as an underlying or causal mechanism. As such, free riding is to be treated as part of the real world rather than of the world of models or theories. However, the free riding mechanism is particularly prone to operate not in isolation but together with other mechanisms. This feature has consequences on issues such as empirical content, testability or relevance. These questions are discussed in the light of some recent work in philosophy of science and with special attention given to the development of experimental methods in economics.

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Paper provided by LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne in its series LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) with number 1996-13.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jul 1996
Handle: RePEc:lat:lateco:1996-13
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  1. Alison L. Booth, 1985. "The Free Rider Problem and a Social Custom Model of Trade Union Membership," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 253-261.
  2. McMillan, John, 1979. "The Free-Rider Problem: A Survey," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 55(149), pages 95-107, June.
  3. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Cooperation in Public-Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 891-904, September.
  4. Salmon, Pierre, 1994. "Outrageous arguments in economics and public choice," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 409-426, October.
  5. Sugden, Robert, 1982. "On the Economics of Philanthropy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 341-350, June.
  6. Johansen, Leif, 1977. "The theory of public goods: Misplaced emphasis?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 147-152, February.
  7. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-291, April.
  8. Sanford J. Grossman & Oliver D. Hart, 1980. "Takeover Bids, the Free-Rider Problem, and the Theory of the Corporation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 42-64, Spring.
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