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Ideology and the Growth of Government

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Listed:
  • Andrew Pickering

    (University of Bristol)

  • James Rockey

    (University of Leicester)

Abstract

We analyze the impact of ideology on the size of government. In a simple model, the government sets redistribution and provision of public services according to the preferences of the median voter. Ideology is defined in terms of preferences for public services, and the impact of ideology on the size of government is shown to increase with mean income. This idea is tested using measures of ideology based on party manifestos. We show that the interaction of ideology and mean income has a major role in explaining the increase and divergence in government size observed across OECD countries. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Pickering & James Rockey, 2011. "Ideology and the Growth of Government," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 907-919, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:3:p:907-919
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    2. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150-150, March.
    3. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
    4. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    5. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 2002. "The Growth of Government:," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 389-402, December.
    6. Peacock, Alan & Scott, Alex, 2000. "The Curious Attraction of Wagner's Law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 1-17, January.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't The US Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1933, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
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    More about this item

    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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