Yesterday’s Games: Contingency Learning and the Growth of Public Spending, 1890-1938
AbstractNeither democracy nor globalization can explain the doubling of the peacetime public share in many Western countries between World Wars I and II. Here we examine two other explanations that are consistent with the timing of the observed changes, namely, (1) a shift in the demand for public goods and (2) the effect of war on the willingness to share. We first model each of these approaches as a contingency-learning phenomenon within Schelling’s Multi-Person Dilemma. We then derive verifiable propositions from each hypothesis. National time series of public spending as a share of GNP reveal no unit root but a break in trend, a result shown to favor explanation (2) over (1).
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2003-20.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2003
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Wagner's Law; war; government exnditures; democracy; globalization;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-10-20 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2003-10-20 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-PBE-2003-10-20 (Public Economics)
- NEP-POL-2003-10-20 (Positive Political Economics)
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