Neighborhood effects in social service provision. Competition or reflection?
Expenditures by local goverments often exhibit positive spatial autocorrelation. A spatial pattern might arise either from an endogenous effect (with local authorities being affected by the average behavior in the neighborhood) or from exogenous/correlated effects(with the behavior of close-by authorities simply reflecting common neighborhood characteristics or correlated shocks).In order to identify the underlying spatial process, this paper models the determination of local expenditure on social services within a spatial framework that allows interdependent local authority behavior and spatially auto-correlated shocks, and performs an empirical analysis on a cross-section of UK local goverments. The IV (instrumental variables)and ML (maximum likelihood) estimates of a SAR (spatial auto-regressive) model, as well asthe ML estimates of SARMA (spatial auto-regressive moving average) model suggest that the most likely source of spatial auto-correlation in social spending is endogenous mimicking among neighboring localities.
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