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American Government Finance in the Long Run: 1790 to 1990

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  • John Joseph Wallis
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    Abstract

    Government in America has gone through three distinct fiscal systems in the last two hundred years. Each system utilized a dominant revenue source, and had a distinctly active level of government. The changing structure of government by level seems to be related to changing revenue structures. When new taxes become important, the relative importance of each level of government changes. On the other hand, growth in the overall size of government is not directly related to the structure of revenues or the distribution of activity by level of government. Government growth is the result of long term commitments to provide education, transportation, social welfare services, old age security, and military forces.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.14.1.61
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 61-82

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:1:p:61-82

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.1.61
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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Wallis, John Joseph, 1991. "The Political Economy of New Deal Fiscal Federalism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 510-24, July.
    2. John J. Wallis & Wallace Oates, 1998. "The Impact of the New Deal on American Federalism," NBER Chapters, in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 155-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Goodrich, Carter, 1950. "The Revulsion Against Internal Improvements," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 145-169, November.
    4. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
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    Cited by:
    1. John Dove, 2012. "Credible commitments and constitutional constraints: state debt repudiation and default in nineteenth century America," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 66-93, March.
    2. Wallis, John & Weingast, Barry, 2005. "The Financing of 19th Century Internal Improvements," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7nh1c6df, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    3. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2008. "Wealth Distribution and the Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from the United States," MPRA Paper 11534, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. John Joseph Wallis, 2004. "Constitutions, Corporations, and Corruption: American States and Constitutional Change," NBER Working Papers 10451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Vollrath, Dietrich, 2013. "Inequality and school funding in the rural United States, 1890," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 267-284.
    6. John Joseph Wallis, 2004. "The Concept of Systematic Corruption in American Political and Economic History," NBER Working Papers 10952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lars Feld & Christoph Schaltegger, 2010. "Political stability and fiscal policy: time series evidence for the Swiss federal level since 1849," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 505-534, September.
    8. Wallis, John, 2001. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending, Yet Again: A Reply to Fleck," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 305-314, April.
    9. Timothy J. Bartik, 2009. "How Policymakers Should Deal with the Delayed Benefits of Early Childhood Programs," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 09-150, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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