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Institutions and government growth: a comparison of the 1890s and the 1930s

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  • Thomas A. Garrett
  • Russell M. Rhine

Abstract

Statistics on the size and growth of the U.S. federal government, along with the rhetoric of President Franklin Roosevelt, seem to indicate that the Great Depression was the event that started the dramatic growth in government spending and intervention in the private sector that has continued to the present day. Through a comparison of the economic conditions of the 1890s and the 1930s, we argue that post-1930 government growth in the United States is not the direct result of the Great Depression, but rather is a result of institutional, legal, and social changes that began in the late 1800s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2008-020.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-020

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Keywords: Economic history ; Economic development;

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  1. R. G. Holcombe & D. J. Lacombe, 1998. "Interests Versus Ideology in the Ratification of the 16th and 17th Amendments," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 143-160, 07.
  2. Kristov, Lorenzo & Lindert, Peter & McClelland, Robert, 1992. "Pressure groups and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 135-163, July.
  3. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  4. 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.
  5. Holcombe, R.G. & Mills, J.A., 1992. "Politics and Deficit Finance," Working Papers 1992_03_1, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
  6. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 1980. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521233293, December.
  7. Randall G. Holcombe, 1996. "The Growth of the Federal Government in the 1920s," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 16(2), pages 175-199, Fall.
  8. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  9. Holcombe, Randall G, 1999. " Veterans Interests and the Transition to Government Growth: 1870-1915," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 311-26, June.
  10. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  11. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
  12. Randall Holcombe, 2005. "Government growth in the twenty-first century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 95-114, July.
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Cited by:
  1. David Andolfatto, 2010. "Fiscal multipliers in war and in peace," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 121-128.

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