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Political Accountability and the Size of Government: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence

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  • David Dreyer Lassen

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of political accountability on the size of the public sector in a principal-agent model of democratic government. Political accountability is the degree to which the electorate can control politicians through elections, and emphasis is put on the roles of transparency and political contestability. Increasing transparency and political contestability increases the control of politicians, which makes public goods provision more attractive to voters, increasing the size of government. The prediction of the model is strongly supported by robust empirical evidence from a cross section of 62 democratic countries in 1995.

Suggested Citation

  • David Dreyer Lassen, 2000. "Political Accountability and the Size of Government: Theory and Cross-Country Evidence," EPRU Working Paper Series 00-20, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:00-20
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/epru/files/wp/00-20.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Aidt, Toke S. & Magris, Francesco, 2006. "Capital taxation and electoral accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 277-291, June.
    2. Marina Dodlova, 2013. "Political Accountability and Real Authority of Government Bureaucracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4443, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Horacio L. P. Piffano, 2007. "Argentina and Brazil: Fiscal Harmonization and Subnational Sales Taxation – State / Provincial VAT versus State / Provincial Retail Sales Tax," Department of Economics, Working Papers 069, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    4. Aidt, T. & Dutta, J. & Loukoianova, E., 2003. "Policy Myopia," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0344, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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