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Legislatures and Government Spending: Evidence from Democratic Countries

  • Roberto Ricciuti

This paper studies the relationship between the legislature size with respect to general government and welfare spending. According to the theory, the legislature size has an indefinite effect on government spending because logrolling and transaction costs have canceling effects. Bicameralism is expected to have a negative effect because of the increased transaction cost of finding a viable majority in two houses with different constituencies. The study uses a cross-section of 75 countries over the period 1990-1998 controlling for some institutional features that differ among countries. We find that both legislature size and bicameralism do not have a significant effect on the two types of spending.

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Article provided by IUP Publications in its journal The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy.

Volume (Year): V (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 & 2 (March & June)
Pages: 41-58

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Handle: RePEc:icf:icfjgp:v:05:y:2010:i:1&2:p:41-58
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  1. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  2. Persson, T. & Roland, G. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Papers 633, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  3. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
  5. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
  6. Roberto Perotti & Massimo V. Rostagno & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Electoral System and Public Spending," IMF Working Papers 01/22, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Roger B. Myerson & Daniel Diermeier, 1999. "Bicameralism and Its Consequences for the Internal Organization of Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1182-1196, December.
  8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, June.
  9. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  10. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
  11. John Charles Bradbury & W. Mark Crain, 2002. "Bicameral Legislatures and Fiscal Policy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 646-659, January.
  12. Marilyn Young & Michael Reksulak & William F. Shughart, 2001. "The Political Economy of the IRS," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 201-220, 07.
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