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Has Leviathan Been Bound? A Theory of Imperfectly Constrained Government with Evidence from the States

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  • Bryan Caplan

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University)

Abstract

This paper develops a formal theory that combines power-maximizing “Leviathan” political parties with well-defined imperfections in the political process. The model implies that both parties tend to make government larger as their likelihood of electoral victory increases. Empirical tests on state-level data confirm this prediction. Racing the Leviathan hypothesis against alternative theories of party motivation indicates that both the Leviathan and the “contrasting ideologies” views have some degree of validity.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 67 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 825-847

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:67:4:y:2001:p:825-847

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. J. Stephen Ferris, 2010. "Fiscal Policy from a Public Choice Perspective," Carleton Economic Papers 10-10, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  2. Eric Dubois & Matthieu Leprince & Sonia Paty, 2007. "The Effects of Politics on Local Tax Setting: Evidence from France," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(8), pages 1603-1618, July.
  3. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "Estimating the Impact of Gubernatorial Partisanship on Policy Settings and Economic Outcomes: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 556, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Pal, Rupayan & Sharma, Ajay, 2013. "Endogenizing governments' objectives in tax competition," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 570-578.
  5. Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "When is two better than one? How federalism mitigates and intensifies imperfect political competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 99-119, April.
  6. Leandro M. de Magalhães, 2011. "Political Parties and the Tax Level in the American States: A Regression Discontinuity Design," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 11/622, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  7. Ashworth, John & Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno, 2006. "Determinants of tax innovation: The case of environmental taxes in Flemish municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 223-247, March.
  8. Benoît Le Maux, 2009. "Governmental behavior in representative democracy: a synthesis of the theoretical literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 447-465, December.
  9. Sole Olle, Albert, 2003. "Electoral accountability and tax mimicking: the effects of electoral margins, coalition government, and ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 685-713, November.
  10. Reed, W. Robert, 2006. "Democrats, republicans, and taxes: Evidence that political parties matter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 725-750, May.
  11. Johnson, Noel D & Matthew, Mitchell & Yamarik, Steven, 2012. "Pick Your Poison: Do Politicians Regulate When They Can’t Spend?," MPRA Paper 37430, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Albert Solé Ollé, 2005. "The effects of party competition on budget outcomes: Empirical evidence from local governments in Spain," Working Papers 2005/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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