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Government for the People: On the Determinants of the Size of U.S. Government

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Author Info

  • Tamim Bayoumi
  • Fernando M. Gonçalves

Abstract

Trends in the size of U.S. government are examined. In the postwar period, general government primary spending rose by � percent of GDP a year through 1975, stabilizing thereafter. With higher social transfers offset by a lower burden of defense spending, expansion reflected a baby-boom driven rise in education spending. The parallel improvement in tax efficiency helped equate the benefits of higher spending with the costs from higher taxation, in accordance with a marginalist view of the size of government. Looking forward, the retirement of baby boomers appears likely to expand government and lead to a more efficient tax system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/289.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/289

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Related research

Keywords: Government expenditures; Tax systems;

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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  2. 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.
  3. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  4. Tsangyao Chang & Wen Rong Liu & Steven Caudill, 2002. "Tax-and-spend, spend-and-tax, or fiscal synchronization: new evidence for ten countries," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(12), pages 1553-1561.
  5. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, 1996. "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 5533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1995. "Restraining Yourself: The Implications of Fiscal Rules for Economic Stabilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 32-48, March.
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