Diverse groups are a hotbed for free riders. This chapter thus tests whether fiscal policy coordination was marred by collective action failure. The central claim of this chapter is that accusations of stability or growth free riding are not borne out by factual evidence. Using regression analysis and Qualitative Comparative Analysis, the chapter shows that despite their greater ability to free ride (given their political clout and trade links), larger and more open economies implemented larger stimulus programs. Fiscal policy is further analyzed vis-à-vis a country’s fiscal space. Results show that, by and large, member states stimulated their economies in line with their fiscal room for maneuver. These findings are contrasted with the political discourse of the time, when indictments of growth free riding were widespread. Accusations of beggar-thy-neighbor politics were rife; first-order free riding was not.
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