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Ideology and the Growth of Government

  • Andrew Pickering

    (University of Bristol)

  • James Rockey

    (University of Leicester)

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.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 907-919

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:3:p:907-919
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  1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Working Papers 114, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Angeletos, George-Marios & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," Scholarly Articles 4553009, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  4. 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.
  5. Peacock, Alan & Scott, Alex, 2000. " The Curious Attraction of Wagner's Law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 1-17, January.
  6. 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 914-27, October.
  7. Baumol, William J, 1972. "Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 150, March.
  8. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 2002. " The Growth of Government:," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 389-402, December.
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