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The fair-play theory of political obligation holds that citizens incur obligations to obey the law as a result of gaining important benefits from their political communities. In this essay, I argue that the fair-play theory fails in large part because it relies on a flawed understanding of the way in which free-riding is morally wrong. Starting with the assumption that those who benefit from the efforts of others have a moral reason to reciprocate, at least under some circumstances, I show that the fair-play theorists’ claim that this reason is grounded in a right to reciprocation, which the providers gain, does not succeed. Therefore this theory cannot provide an adequate explanation of how citizens incur political obligations.