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The Political Costs of Tax Increases and Expenditure Reductions: Evidence from State Legislative Turnover


  • Sobel, Russell S


This paper estimates the political costs of increasing taxes and cutting expenditures for members of a legislature. It is found that both costs are individually significant, but that they are not significantly different. This coincides with the first order condition for maximization of the probability of reelection. Republican legislatures have a higher political cost for taxes, thus the party's relative bias toward smaller government is founded in stronger constituent preferences against taxes, not for lower spending. Additionally, by being ideologically conservative, Republicans lower the political costs of taxes, while by being more liberal, Democrats lower the cost of cutting expenditures. Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Sobel, Russell S, 1998. "The Political Costs of Tax Increases and Expenditure Reductions: Evidence from State Legislative Turnover," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 96(1-2), pages 61-79, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:96:y:1998:i:1-2:p:61-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Gary J. Miller, 1997. "The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Political Science," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1173-1204, September.
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    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ginés Rus & M. Socorro, 2010. "Infrastructure Investment and Incentives with Supranational Funding," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 17(3), pages 551-567, September.
    2. Gary Wagner & Russell Sobel, 2006. "State budget stabilization fund adoption: Preparing for the next recession or circumventing fiscal constraints?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 177-199, January.
    3. Helmut Herwartz & Bernd Theilen, 2014. "On the political and fiscal determinants of income redistribution under federalism and democracy: evidence from Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 121-139, April.
    4. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "The political cost of taxation: new evidence from German popularity ratings
      [Besteuerung und Popularität von Politikern: Neue Ergebnisse für die Deutsche Bundesregierung 1978-2003]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2008. "Taxation and presidential approval: separate effects from tax burden and tax structure turbulence?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 301-317, June.
    6. Schmidt, Torsten, 2001. "Finanzreformen in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Analyse der Veränderungen der Finanzverfassung von 1949 bis 1989," RWI Schriften, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, volume 67, number 67.

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