Conditional Spatial Policy Dependence: Theory and Model Specification
Comparative Political Studies, 45 (7), 2012, pp. 819-849
43 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011 Last revised: 20 Jun 2012
Date Written: May 13, 2011
When the policy choice in one jurisdiction depends on those of other jurisdictions, then policies are said to be spatially dependent. In this article, we discuss how scholars can bring theories of spatial policy dependence and empirical model specifications closer in line so that the empirical analysis actually tests the theoretical predictions. Specifically, comprehensive theories of spatial policy dependence will typically suggest that the jurisdictions receiving spatial stimuli systematically differ in their exposure to such signals as a function of the intensity of their interaction with other jurisdictions. Similarly, theories will often predict that governments also differ in their responsiveness to any given spatial stimulus as a function of the institutional, political, economic or social context in which they operate. In other words, theories typically postulate that spatial dependence is conditional on exposure and responsiveness, neither of which is accounted for in the standard empirical practice of estimating one single common coefficient for a row-standardized spatial lag variable. We show how scholars can adequately model both forms of heterogeneity with properly specified interaction effects models.
Keywords: spatially dependent, spatial policy, policy choice
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