World War II and the growth of the U.S. federal government
AbstractIt is frequently claimed that World War II contributed to the growth of big government in the United States. One theory is that agencies that were given additional resources or authority during the war were able to retain them after the war because the agencies and their supporters were able to take advantage of inefficiency and inertia in the political process. The public, moreover, it is said, had gotten use to higher taxes during the war, so it was not necessary for the government to lower taxes all the way to their prewar level. This is the famous "ratchet" hypothesis. In this paper, however, I argue that there is little evidence for this phenomenon. On the other hand, I argue that the perception that government spending and control of the economy had proved successful during the war contributed to the ongoing shift in public attitudes in favor of big government.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Japan and the World Economy.
Volume (Year): 11 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505557
Other versions of this item:
- Hugh Rockoff, 1998. "World War II and the Growth of the U.S. Federal Government," Departmental Working Papers 199801, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
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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Journal of Law and Economics,
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- Sam Peltzman, 1980. "The Growth of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 1, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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- Beetsma, Roel & Cukierman, Alex & Giuliodori, Massimo, 2005. "Wars, Redistribution and Civilian Federal Expenditures in the US over the Twentieth Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 5356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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