, Volume 83, Issue 1-2, pp 47-58

Empirical evidence on the publicness of state legislative activities

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Abstract

Legislation would be a Samuelsonian public good if the cost of creating legislation is not a function of the number of people covered by the legislation. A straighforward test of Samuelsonian publicness is undertaken by estimating the cost of producing legislation as a function of population and other variables, using cross-sectional data from the states of the United States for the years 1965, 1975, and 1985. The empirical results indicate that while legislation does have some degree of publicness, legislation is mostly a private good, and that it has been becoming increasingly less public over time.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Bruce Benson, Tim Sass, and an anonymous referee of this journal.