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Government Spending and Taxation in Democracies and Autocracies

Author

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  • Kjell Hausken
  • Christian W. Martin
  • Thomas Plümper

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Abstract

The paper develops a theoretical rationale for a non-linear relationship between the level of democracy and government spending. A model is presented showing why and how political participation influences the spending behavior of opportunistic governments that can choose an optimal combination of rents and public goods to attract political support. If the level of democracy remains low, governments rationally prefer rents as an instrument to assure political support. With increasing democratic participation, however, rents become an increasingly expensive (per unit of political support) instrument while the provision of public goods becomes more and more efficient in ensuring the incumbent government's survival in power. As a consequence, an increase in democracy, which drives a country from a pure autocracy to a semi-participatory system, tends to reduce government spending, while an increase in political participation from a semi-participatory country to a full democracy tends to raise the size of the public sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Kjell Hausken & Christian W. Martin & Thomas Plümper, 2004. "Government Spending and Taxation in Democracies and Autocracies," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 239-259, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:15:y:2004:i:3:p:239-259
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sajjad F. Dizaji & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Alireza Naghavi, 2016. "Political institutions and government spending behavior: theory and evidence from Iran," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 522-549, June.
    2. Plümper, Thomas & Neumayer, Eric, 2009. "Famine Mortality, Rational Political Inactivity, and International Food Aid," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 50-61, January.
    3. Casper Hunnerup Dahl, 2014. "Parties and institutions: empirical evidence on veto players and the growth of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 415-433, June.
    4. Abel Escribà-Folch, 2009. "Do authoritarian institutions mobilize economic cooperation?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 71-93, March.
    5. Toke Aidt & Peter Jensen, 2013. "Democratization and the size of government: evidence from the long 19th century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 511-542, December.
    6. Joan Costa-Font & Ana Rico, 2006. "Vertical Competition in the Spanish National Health System (NHS)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 477-498, September.
    7. Sajjad Faraji Dizaji & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2014. "Political Institutions and Government Spending Behavior in Iran," CESifo Working Paper Series 4620, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Fasoranti, Modupe Mary & Alimi, Rasaq Santos, 2017. "Government Size, Political Institutions and Output Growth in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 80562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Balamatsias, Pavlos, 2018. "Democracy and government spending," MPRA Paper 84975, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Libman, Alexander, 2008. "Democracy and growth: is the effect non-linear?," MPRA Paper 17795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Abel L. Costa Fernandes & Paulo R. Mota, 2012. "The Present Sovereign Debt Crisis Of The Euro Zone Peripheral Countries: A Case Of Non-Mature Democracies And Less Developed Economies," FEP Working Papers 458, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    12. Profeta, Paola & Puglisi, Riccardo & Scabrosetti, Simona, 2013. "Does democracy affect taxation and government spending? Evidence from developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 684-718.

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