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Explaining Government Spending: a Cointegration Approach


  • Abel Costa Fernandes

    () (Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)


Based on a comprehensive theoretical model we investigate the determinants of government spending. Besides GDP, commonly associated with either Walra´s law or Keynesian macro stabilization policies, we consider some variables identified with the public choice approach, namely median voters, pressure groups and the ideology of the government in power. These other variables are women, elderly population and population occupied in agriculture. The model is tested empirically using Johansen´s cointegration technique for the cases of Australia and Canada with data on general government expenditure, thus covering all government sectors, including social security. For the most part, we find long-run relationships among the variables and with the expected signs.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel Costa Fernandes, 2009. "Explaining Government Spending: a Cointegration Approach," FEP Working Papers 311, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:311

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cristina Santos & Alexandre Almeida & Aurora A.C. Teixeira, 2008. "Searching for clusters in tourism. A quantitative methodological proposal," FEP Working Papers 293, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
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    7. Niskanen, William A, 1975. "Bureaucrats and Politicians," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 617-643, December.
    8. Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2009. "Interactions between Labor Market Reforms and Monetary Policy under Slowly Changing Habits," FEP Working Papers 309, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    9. Payne, James E & Ewing, Bradley T, 1996. "International Evidence on Wagner's Hypothesis: A Cointegration Analysis," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 51(2), pages 258-274.
    10. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    More about this item


    Public Economics; Public Choice; Government spending; Interest groups;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H39 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Other
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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