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Do supermajority rules limit or enhance majority tyranny? evidence from the US States, 1960–1997

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  • John Bradbury

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  • Joseph Johnson
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    Abstract

    Buchanan and Tullock (1962) demonstrates that supermajority rules can reduce tyranny of majority problems in a democracy. However, recent theoretical work by Dixit, Grossman, and Gul (2000) postulates that this static analysis of supermajority rules may be inadequate to explain political decisions in a dynamic setting. In fact, supermajority rules may increase the incidence of majority tyranny because of rotating political representation. Using data from US state legislatures we examine the effect of supermajority rules on different categories of government expenditures and tax revenues during the latter half of the 20th century. We find supermajority rules have little effect on general government expenditures and tax revenues. However, supermajority rules are associated with lower public welfare transfers, which supports the traditional analysis of the fiscal effects of supermajority rules. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-005-9002-z
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 127 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 429-441

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:127:y:2006:i:3:p:429-441

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
    2. Baltagi, Badi H. & Wu, Ping X., 1999. "Unequally Spaced Panel Data Regressions With Ar(1) Disturbances," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(06), pages 814-823, December.
    3. Knight, Brian G., 2000. "Supermajority voting requirements for tax increases: evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 41-67, April.
    4. Gordon Tullock, 1959. "Problems of Majority Voting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 571.
    5. John Charles Bradbury & W. Mark Crain, 2002. "Bicameral Legislatures and Fiscal Policy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 646-659, January.
    6. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
    7. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
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