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The Growth of Social Security: Electoral Push or Political Pull?

Author

Listed:
  • Congleton, Roger D
  • Shughart, William F, II

Abstract

The Social Security program has grown more than a thousand-fold since its inception. Even after the increased number of retired persons and inflation are accounted for, average real Social Security benefit levels more than tripled from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. What accounts for this growth? This paper finds that increased retirement benefit levels are generated by changes in the constraints faced by the median voter rather than by changes in the polictical power of social interest groups. The results suggest that the median voter has a finite planning horizon. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Congleton, Roger D & Shughart, William F, II, 1990. "The Growth of Social Security: Electoral Push or Political Pull?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 109-132, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:28:y:1990:i:1:p:109-32
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceicao Sampaio de Sousa, 2006. "Demand for locally provided public services within the median voter's framework: the case of the Brazilian municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 239-251.
    2. Breyer, Friedrich & Craig, Ben, 1997. "Voting on social security: Evidence from OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 705-724, December.
    3. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa, 2004. "Demand For Locally Provided Public Services Within The Median Voter'S Framework: The Case Of The Brazilian Municipalities," Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32nd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 027, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    4. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph, 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 403-442, November.
    5. Bruno Bises & Fabio Padovano, 2004. "Government Grants to Private Cultural Institutions–The Effects of a Change in the Italian Legislation," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 28(4), pages 303-315, November.
    6. Monika Bütler, 2002. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing the Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on the Female Retirement Age," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 349-365, August.
    7. Joshua Hall & Amanda Ross & Christopher Yencha, 2015. "The political economy of the Essential Air Service program," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 147-164, October.
    8. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0447-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Monika BÜTLER, 2000. "The Political Feasibility of Increasing Retirement Age: Lessons from a Ballot on Female Retirement Age," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 00.27, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    10. Roger Congleton & Feler Bose, 2010. "The rise of the modern welfare state, ideology, institutions and income security: analysis and evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 535-555, September.
    11. Nadia Fiorino & Roberto Ricciuti, 2009. "Interest Groups and Government Spending in Italy, 1876-1913," CESifo Working Paper Series 2722, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. repec:kap:copoec:v:29:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9248-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9424-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa, 2004. "Demand for Locally provided Public Services Within the Median Voter`s Framework: The Case of the Brazilian Municipalities," Discussion Papers 1046, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    15. Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Is German domestic social policy politically controversial?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 393-418, December.
    16. Bergh, Andreas & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2014. "Trust, welfare states and income equality: Sorting out the causality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 183-199.
    17. Constantino Cronemberger Mendes & Maria da Conceição Sampaio de Sousa, 2015. "Demand for Locally Provided Public Services within the Median Voter's Framework: the Case of the Brazilian Municipalities," Discussion Papers 0134, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    18. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Hessami, Zohal, 2010. "Globalization and the Composition of Public Education Expenditures: A Dynamic Panel Analysis," MPRA Paper 25750, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Hyungon Kim & Chang Kwon, 2015. "The Effects of Fiscal Consolidation and Welfare Composition of Spending on Electoral Outcomes: Evidence from US Gubernatorial Elections between 1978 and 2006," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 228-253, April.
    20. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
    21. Ismael Sanz & Francisco J. Velázquez, 2003. "Fiscal illusion, fiscal consolidation and government expenditure composition in the OECD: a dynamic panel data approach," European Economy Group Working Papers 21, European Economy Group.
    22. Roger Congleton, 2007. "On the Feasibility of a Liberal Welfare State: Agency and Exit Costs in Income Security Clubs," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 145-159, September.
    23. Dashle Kelley, 2014. "The political economy of unfunded public pension liabilities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 21-38, January.

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