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The Birth of the Old Federalism: Financing the New Deal, 1932–1940

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  • Wallis, John Joseph

Abstract

The relative importance of federal and local government was reversed between 1932 and 1940. This changing composition of government expenditures by level of government accounts for the rise of “big†government during the Depression. State governments expanded their fiscal activity, maintaining their share of total government expenditures. Utilizing data on federal grants and state and local expenditures, I find that the relative decline of local governments and sustained growth of state governments can be explained by the financial and administrative provisions of the federal New Deal programs.

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  • Wallis, John Joseph, 1984. "The Birth of the Old Federalism: Financing the New Deal, 1932–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 139-159, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:44:y:1984:i:01:p:139-159_03
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniele Coen-Pirani & Michael Wooley, 2018. "Fiscal Centralization: Theory and Evidence from the Great Depression," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 39-61, May.
    2. Fishback, Price V. & Horrace, William C. & Kantor, Shawn, 2006. "The impact of New Deal expenditures on mobility during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 179-222, April.
    3. Wallis, John, 2001. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending, Yet Again: A Reply to Fleck," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 305-314, April.
    4. Gruber, Jonathan & Hungerman, Daniel M., 2007. "Faith-based charity and crowd-out during the great depression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1043-1069, June.
    5. Wallis, John Joseph, 1998. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending Revisited, Again: With and without Nevada," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 140-170, April.
    6. Fabrizio Balassone & Sandro Momigliano & Marzia Romanelli & Pietro Tommasino, 2018. "Just Round the Corner? Pros, Cons, and Implementation Issues of a Fiscal Union for the Euro Area," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2018(1), pages 5-34.
    7. Richard Sylla, 1986. "Long-Term Trends in State and Local Finance: Sources and Uses of Funds in North Carolina, 1800-1977," NBER Chapters, in: Long-Term Factors in American Economic Growth, pages 819-868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eline Poelmans & John A. Dove & Jason E. Taylor, 2018. "The politics of beer: analysis of the congressional votes on the beer bill of 1933," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 81-106, January.
    9. Handler, Heinz, 2013. "The eurozone: piecemeal approach to an optimum currency area," MPRA Paper 67183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Fishback, Price V. & Haines, Michael R. & Kantor, Shawn, 2001. "The Impact of the New Deal on Black and White Infant Mortality in the South," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 93-122, January.
    11. Fishback, Price V. & Kantor, Shawn & Wallis, John Joseph, 2003. "Can the New Deal's three Rs be rehabilitated? A program-by-program, county-by-county analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 278-307, July.
    12. Yannis, Athena, 1996. "Fiscal Federalism and EMU," MPRA Paper 90306, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Libman, A., 2020. "Decentralization of crisis, weakness and responsibility," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 181-187.
    14. Siodla, James, 2020. "Debt and taxes: Fiscal strain and US city budgets during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    15. Kantor, Shawn & Fishback, Price V. & Wallis, John Joseph, 2013. "Did the New Deal solidify the 1932 Democratic realignment?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 620-633.
    16. Mason, Joseph R., 2003. "The political economy of Reconstruction Finance Corporation assistance during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 101-121, April.
    17. Bateman, Fred & Taylor, Jason E., 2003. "The New Deal at war: alphabet agencies' expenditure patterns, 1940-1945," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 251-277, July.
    18. Daniel K. Fetter, 2016. "Local Government and Old-Age Support in the New Deal," NBER Working Papers 22760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Marton, James & Wildasin, David E., 2007. "State government cash and in-kind benefits: Intergovernmental fiscal transfers and cross-program substitution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-20, January.
    20. Jason Taylor & Fred Bateman, 2007. "Does the distribution of New Deal spending reflect an optimal provision of public goods?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(3), pages 1-5.

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