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A Contribution to the Political Economy of Government Size: 'Demand', 'Supply' and 'Political Influence'

This paper contributes to the understanding of empirically-oriented work on the size of government by integrating the analysis of three basic elements: (i) the 'demand' for government stemming in part from attempts to coercively redistribute, often analyzed in a median voter framework; (ii) the 'supply' of taxable activities emphasized in Leviathan and other models of taxation; and (iii) the distribution of 'political influence' when influence and economic interests are distinct. The role of the first two factors have been considered in recent empirical studies of government growth by Ferris and West (1996) and Kau and Rubin (2002). Estimates of the effect of unequal political influence on the size of government have been provided by Mueller and Stratmann (2003). We combine all three elements in a spatial voting framework of a sort that has not been well explored, and use the comparative static properties of the integrative model to shed light on the analytical and empirical literatures.

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Paper provided by Carleton University, Department of Economics in its series Carleton Economic Papers with number 04-04.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published: Carleton Economic Papers
Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:04-04
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  2. Louis Hotte & Stanley L. Winer, 2000. "Political Influence, Economic Interests and Endogenous Tax Structure in a Computable Equilibrium Framework: with Application to the United States, 1973 and 1983," Carleton Economic Papers 00-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2001.
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  17. Peacock, Alan & Scott, Alex, 2000. "The Curious Attraction of Wagner's Law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 1-17, January.
  18. George Tridimas, 1992. "Budgetary Deficits and Government Expenditure Growth: Toward a More Accurate Empirical Specification," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(3), pages 275-297, July.
  19. John R. Lott & Jr. & Lawrence W. Kenny, 1999. "Did Women's Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1163-1198, December.
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  33. Lawrence W. Kenny & Stanley L. Winer, 2001. "Tax Systems in the World - An Empirical Investigation into the Importance of Tax Bases, Collection Costs, and Political Regime," Carleton Economic Papers 01-03, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
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  37. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
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