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Trending economic factors and the structure of Congress in the growth of government, 1930–2002

Abstract

We investigate the role of Congress in the growth of federal public expenditure since 1930, building on the work of Kau and Rubin (Public Choice, 113:389–402, 2002). The model incorporates majority party strength and the extent of party control of Congress in addition to the median ideological position of elected representatives. We first provide estimates of the relative importance of the state of Congress and of trending supply and demand-side economic factors in the evolution of federal spending. The resulting models are then used to simulate the consequences of the radical and historically unprecedented shift to the right of Congress in 1994/95.

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Correspondence to Stanley L. Winer.

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Research assistance was provided by Hyoek Ki Min, Can Hakyamez and Haizhen Mou. Winer’s research was supported by the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program at Duke University and the Canada Research Chair Program.

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Winer, S.L., Tofias, M.W., Grofman, B. et al. Trending economic factors and the structure of Congress in the growth of government, 1930–2002. Public Choice 135, 415–448 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-007-9270-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-007-9270-x

Keywords

  • Public expenditure
  • Congress
  • Ideology
  • Majority party strength
  • Party control
  • Female labor force participation
  • Stationary versus trending variables

JEL

  • H1
  • H3
  • H5
  • H6