"Free riding" occurs when one firm (or individual) benefits from the actions and efforts of another without paying or sharing the costs.
In economics, collective bargaining, psychology and political science, "free riders" are those who consume more than their fair share of a resource, or shoulder less than a fair share of the costs of its production. Free riding is usually considered to be an economic "problem" only when it leads to the non-production or under-production of a public good (and thus to Pareto inefficiency), or when it leads to the excessive use of a common property resource. The free rider problem is the question of how to prevent free riding from taking place (or at least limit its negative effects) in these situations.
- free riding