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The Growth of Social Security: Electoral Push or Political Pull?

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  • Congleton, Roger D
  • Shughart, William F, II

Abstract

The Social Security program has grown more than a thousand-fold since its inception. Even after the increased number of retired persons and inflation are accounted for, average real Social Security benefit levels more than tripled from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. What accounts for this growth? This paper finds that increased retirement benefit levels are generated by changes in the constraints faced by the median voter rather than by changes in the polictical power of social interest groups. The results suggest that the median voter has a finite planning horizon. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 28 (1990)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 109-32

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:28:y:1990:i:1:p:109-32

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Hessami, Zohal, 2010. "Globalization and the Composition of Public Education Expenditures: A Dynamic Panel Analysis," MPRA Paper 25750, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa, 2004. "Demand for Locally provided Public Services Within the Median Voter`s Framework: The Case of the Brazilian Municipalities," Discussion Papers 1046, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
  3. Roger Congleton, 2007. "On the Feasibility of a Liberal Welfare State: Agency and Exit Costs in Income Security Clubs," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 145-159, September.
  4. Friedrich Breyer & Ben Craig, 1995. "Voting on social security: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper 9511, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  5. Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R., 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73373, Tilburg University.
  6. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
  7. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceicao Sampaio de Sousa, 2006. "Demand for locally provided public services within the median voter's framework: the case of the Brazilian municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 239-251.
  8. Niklas Potrafke, 2011. "Is German Domestic Social Policy Politically Controversial?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-06, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  9. Nadia Fiorino & Roberto Ricciuti, 2009. "Interest Groups and Government Spending in Italy, 1876-1913," CESifo Working Paper Series 2722, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa, 2004. "Demand For Locally Provided Public Services Within The Median Voter'S Framework: The Case Of The Brazilian Municipalities," Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 027, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
  11. Cheikbossian, Guillaume, 2012. "The collective action problem: Within-group cooperation and between-group competition in a repeated rent-seeking game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 68-82.
  12. Bruno Bises & Fabio Padovano, 2004. "Government Grants to Private Cultural Institutions–The Effects of a Change in the Italian Legislation," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 303-315, November.
  13. Ismael Sanz & Francisco J. Velázquez, 2003. "Fiscal illusion, fiscal consolidation and government expenditure composition in the OECD: a dynamic panel data approach," European Economy Group Working Papers 21, European Economy Group.
  14. Monika Bütler, 2002. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 349-365, August.
  15. Roger Congleton & Feler Bose, 2010. "The rise of the modern welfare state, ideology, institutions and income security: analysis and evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 535-555, September.
  16. Dashle Kelley, 2014. "The political economy of unfunded public pension liabilities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 21-38, January.

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