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Government ideology and economic policy-making in the United States—a survey

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  • Niklas Potrafke

    (University of Munich
    Ifo Institute)

Abstract

This paper describes the influence of government ideology on economic policy-making in the United States. I review studies using data for the national, state and local levels and elaborate on checks and balances, especially divided government, measurement of government ideology and empirical strategies to identify causal effects. Many studies conclude that parties do matter in the United States. Democratic presidents generate, for example, higher rates of economic growth than Republican presidents, but these studies using data for the national level do not identify causal effects. Ideology-induced policies are prevalent at the state level: Democratic governors implement somewhat more expansionary and liberal policies than Republican governors. At the local level, government ideology hardly influences economic policy-making at all. How growing political polarization and demographic change will influence the effects of government ideology on economic policy-making will be an important issue for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Government ideology and economic policy-making in the United States—a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 145-207, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0491-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-017-0491-3
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    11. Keita, Sekou & Mandon, Pierre, 2018. "Give a fish or teach fishing? Partisan affiliation of U.S. governors and the poverty status of immigrants," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 65-96.
    12. Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political cycles and economic performance in OECD countries: empirical evidence from 1951–2006," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 155-179, January.
    13. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    14. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Roesel, 2020. "The urban–rural gap in healthcare infrastructure: does government ideology matter?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(3), pages 340-351, March.
    15. Ortega, Alberto, 2020. "State partisanship and higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    16. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Boucher, Vincent, 2015. "Polluting politics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 176-181.
    17. Ansgar Belke & Niklas Potrafke, 2009. "Does Government Ideology Matter in Monetary Policy? – A Panel Data Analysis for OECD Countries," Ruhr Economic Papers 0094, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Government ideology; Economic policy-making; Partisan politics; United States; Democrats; Republicans; Political polarization; Causal effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

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