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Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years

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  • Matsusaka, John G

Abstract

This paper compares the fiscal behavior of states with and without the voter initiative over the last thirty years. The main finding is that total spending was significantly lower in initiative states than in noninitiative states. Local spending was higher and state spending was lower in initiative states. On the revenue side, initiative states relied less on broad-based taxes and more on charges tied to services. Taken together, the evidence indicates that the initiative leads to a reduction in the overall size of government and suggests that it causes a decline in the level of redistributional activity. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

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  • Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:103:y:1995:i:3:p:587-623
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    1. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    2. William R. Dougan, 1988. "The Effects of Tax or Expenditure Limits on State Governments," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 54, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    3. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    4. Burton Abrams & William Dougan, 1986. "The effects of constitutional restraints on governmental spending," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 101-116, January.
    5. Gilligan, Thomas W & Marshall, William J & Weingast, Barry R, 1989. "Regulation and the Theory of Legislative Choice: The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 35-61, April.
    6. John G. Matsusaka, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-571.
    7. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
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