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The Growth Of Local Government In The United States From 1820 To 1870


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  • Holcombe, Randall G.
  • Lacombe, Donald J.


As the United States became more urbanized in the nineteenth century, local-government expenditures increased as local governments expanded their services in response to their growing populations. Expenditures at all levels of government increased substantially in the nineteenth century, but local governments grew more than either the states or the federal government. Total local-government expenditures increased along with the growing urban population, but expenditures per urban resident also increased substantially. The major expansion in local-government expenditures began in the 1830s. This study examines the period of transition to local-government growth from 1820 to 1870.See Davis and Legler, Government ; Legler, Sylla, and Wallis, U.S. City Finances ; and Wallis, government expenditures only back to 1880, 1850, and 1840 respectively. The first two used less comprehensive data than the present note, and Wallis ( American Government Finance ) gives summary data on local expenditures without discussing how they were calculated.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 61 (2001)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 184-189

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:61:y:2001:i:01:p:184-189_02

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Cited by:
  1. Randall Holcombe, 2005. "Government growth in the twenty-first century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 95-114, July.


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  1. Historical Economic Geography


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