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Ideology and the size of US state government

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  • Andrew Pickering

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  • James Rockey

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Abstract

This paper theorizes that the impact of ideology on the size of US state governments increases with state income. This idea is tested using state-level ideology data derived from the voting behavior of state congressional representatives. Empirically the interaction of ideology and mean income is a key determinant of state government size. At 1960s levels of income the impact of ideology is negligible. At 1997 levels of income a one standard-deviation move towards the left of the ideology spectrum increases state government size by about half a standard deviation. Estimated income elasticities differentiated by state and time are found to be increasing with ideology and diminishing with income, as predicted by the theory. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Pickering & James Rockey, 2013. "Ideology and the size of US state government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 443-465, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:156:y:2013:i:3:p:443-465
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-012-0026-x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-012-0026-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bjørnskov, Christian & Rode, Martin, 2016. "And Yet It Grows: Crisis, Ideology, and Interventionist Policy Ratchets," Working Paper Series 1135, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "The size and scope of government in the US states: does party ideology matter?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(4), pages 687-714, August.
    3. François Facchini & Mickael Melki, 2014. "Political Ideology And Economic Growth: Evidence From The French Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(4), pages 1408-1426, October.
    4. Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Government Ideology and Economic Policy-Making in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6444, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Benoît LE MAUX & Kristýna DOSTÁLOVÁ & Fabio PADOVANO, 2017. "Ideology and Public Policies: A Quasi-Experimental Test of the Hypothesis that Left-Wing Governments Spend More," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2017-01-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    6. Niklas Potrafke & Margret Schneider & Christian Simon, 2013. "Zum Einfluss von Parteiideologie auf die Staatstätigkeit in den US-Bundesstaaten," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(11), pages 24-29, June.
    7. repec:bla:pbudge:v:36:y:2016:i:4:p:111-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Benoît Le Maux & Kristýna Dostálová & Fabio Padovano, 2017. "Ideology or Voters? A Quasi-Experimental Test of Why Left-Wing Governments Spend More," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2017-05-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ideology; Wagner’s law; Size of government; D72; H10;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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