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We investigate the relationship between economic development and the growth of the state by testing Wagner's Law. We begin with a general test, and find it does not hold in all cases: it breaks down at higher levels of development and in more recent time periods. This suggests that Wagner's law has specific scope conditions, beyond which states do not continue to grow as economies grow. We use a series of models to explore the temporal scope of Wagner's law and the point at which state growth may hit a ceiling. We conclude limits on the growth of the state are set by limits on the capacity of states to increase taxation. States can avoid this problem temporarily by running budget deficits, but eventually accumulated debt forces them to cut expenditures. Spending is tied to tax revenue like a rubber band, it can stretch only so far before being pulled back.
Public spending arguably increases with the number of parties in government as each party seeks to secure benefits to its target groups. In this study, two factors that affect the budgetary consequences of multiparty government are identified. The first is the distribution of a priori voting power. An uneven distribution of voting power implies that all government parties are not expected to be equally successful in budgetary negotiations. The second is the degree of impartiality of the public sector. If the public sector is characterized by corruption and other forms of partiality, distributive issues can be expected to gain importance in representative politics. An analysis of data from 30 European countries suggests that changes in the number of government parties are associated with changes in public spending in cases where equally powerful parties are in government and the public sector is relatively partial.
Issue ownership theory posits that when social welfare is electorally salient, left-wing parties gain public support by rhetorically emphasizing social welfare issues. There is less research, however, on whether left-wing governing parties benefit from increasing social welfare spending. That is, it is not known whether leftist governments gain from acting on the issues they rhetorically emphasize. This article presents arguments that voters will not react to governments’ social welfare rhetoric, and reviews the conflicting arguments about how government support responds to social welfare spending. It then reports time-series, cross-sectional analyses of data on government support, governments’ social welfare rhetoric and social welfare spending from Britain, Spain and the United States, that support the prediction that government rhetoric has no effects. The article estimates, however, that increased social welfare spending sharply depresses support for both left- and right-wing governments. These findings highlight a strategic dilemma for left-wing governments, which lose public support when they act on their social welfare rhetoric by increasing welfare spending.
Theories of public policy change, despite their differences, converge on one point of strong agreement: the relationship between policy and its causes can and does change over time. This consensus yields numerous empirical implications, but our standard analytical tools are inadequate for testing them. As a result, the dynamic and transformative relationships predicted by policy theories have been left largely unexplored in time series analysis of public policy. This article introduces dynamic linear modelling (DLM) as a useful statistical tool for exploring time-varying relationships in public policy. The article offers a detailed exposition of the DLM approach and illustrates its usefulness with a time series analysis of United States defense policy from 1957 to 2010. The results point the way for a new attention to dynamics in the policy process, and the article concludes with a discussion of how this research programme can profit from applying DLMs.
This article investigates public and private goods provision in two hybrid regimes: Hong Kong and Singapore. We build on the selectorate theory, which analyses all regimes in terms of the size of their leaders’ support coalitions. This research follows a differences-in-differences design, with the exogenous political change in Hong Kong in 1997 as a treatment and Singapore as a control case. This study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, as the aim of the selectorate theory is to transcend traditional regime typologies, a focus on hybrid regimes provides another test of the theory beyond the democratic–authoritarian divide. Second, the distinctive comparative set-up allows us to disentangle the effects of the size of the winning coalition from those of supporter loyalty. The empirical results demonstrate that whilst public goods increase with the winning coalition size, private goods provision is not affected unless accompanied by a change in supporter loyalty.
Dans cet article, nous considérons la mise en œuvre du critère de l'offre économiquement la plus avantageuse dans des marchés publics passés par voie électronique. Pour cela, nous analysons la procédure usuelle de l'enchère anglaise inversée avec bonus de qualité en considérant que les coûts de production des offreurs sont croissants avec le niveau de qualité des produits et que la fonction d'utilité des acheteurs est concave en qualité. Nous montrons que cette procédure ne concrétise pas en général le mécanisme d'enchères optimal. Nous montrons ensuite qu'un plafonnement des prix dans l'enchère anglaise permet de restaurer l'optimalité de la procédure et de mettre en œuvre une discrimination analogue à la discrimination optimale dans le cas uniforme.
We introduce public spending, financed through income taxation, into the Ramsey model with heterogeneous agents. Public spending as a source of welfare generates more complex dynamics. In contrast to previous contributions focusing on similar models but with wasteful public spending, limit cycles through Hopf bifurcation and expectation-driven fluctuations appear if the degree of capital–labor substitution is high enough to be compatible with capital income monotonicity. Moreover, unlike frameworks with a representative agent, our results do not require externalities in production and are compatible with a weakly elastic labor supply with respect to wage.
This paper studies the expansion of mass education in Latin America in the twentieth century from a global comparative perspective. The paper argues that expansion in terms of enrolment and attainment levels was quite impressive. A comparative analysis of the grade enrolment distribution demonstrates, however, that the rapid expansion of primary school enrolment did not correspond with an equally impressive improvement in educational quality. The persistently large tertiary education bias in public education spending suggests that part of the poor quality performance is related to a lack of fscal support for primary education and that the political economy explanation for educational underdevelopment, as advanced by Engerman, Mariscal and Sokoloff for the 19th century, still applied to Latin America during most of the 20th century.
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