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Ideology and the Growth of Government

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  • Andrew Pickering
  • James Rockey

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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, for whom private consumption is a necessity. Ideology is defined on preferences for public services and the impact of ideology upon the size of government increases with mean income. In empirical work ideology is measured using data based on party manifestos. Much of the increases and divergence in government size observed across OECD countries can be explained by the interaction of ideology and mean income.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Pickering & James Rockey, 2007. "Ideology and the Growth of Government," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 07/599, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:uobdis:07/599
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. 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.
    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. 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.
    7. Peacock, Alan & Scott, Alex, 2000. "The Curious Attraction of Wagner's Law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 1-17, January.
    8. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ideology; Wagner's law; size of government;

    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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