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The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government

  • Husted, Thomas A
  • Kenny, Lawrence W

This paper examines the claim that expansion of the voting franchise has been an important factor in the growth of government. State government spending and state and local spending are explained using a panel of forty-six states for 1950-88. Elimination of poll taxes and literacy tests led to higher turnout, particularly among the poor, and a poorer pivotal voter. As predicted, the authors find that these changes, a fall in the income of voters relative to state income, and the ouster of Republicans from state government led to a sharp rise in welfare spending but no change in other spending. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/262065
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 105 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 54-82

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:1:p:54-82
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Moffitt, Robert A., 1984. "The effects of grants-in-aid on state and local expenditures : The case of AFDC," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 279-305, April.
  2. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
  3. Robert Inman, 1978. "Testing political economy’s ‘as if’ proposition: is the median income voter really decisive?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 45-65, December.
  4. Michael Lovell, 1975. "The collective allocation of commodities in a democratic society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 71-92, December.
  5. Kristov, Lorenzo & Lindert, Peter & McClelland, Robert, 1992. "Pressure groups and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 135-163, July.
  6. Dennis Mueller & Peter Murrell, 1986. "Interest groups and the size of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 125-145, January.
  7. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1988. "The Line Item Veto and Public Sector Budgets: Evidence from the States," NBER Working Papers 2531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1988. "The line item veto and public sector budgets : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 269-292, August.
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