Skip to main content

Jurisdiction Size, Political Participation, and the Allocation of Resources

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of population size on politicalparticipation and allocative efficiency. Increasing populationis generally found to reduce political participation. However,since participation is not evenly spread throughout thepopulation, this will have consequences for allocation.Namely, we argue that increasing population size shifts powerto the rich. We discuss the consequences for the optimal sizeof jurisdictions, the size of government, and the measurementof publicness.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Aldrich, J.H. (1997).When is it rational to vote? In D.C. Mueller (Ed.), Perspectives on public choice, Ch. 17: 373-391. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashenfelter, O.C. and Kelley, S. (1975). Determinants of participation in presidential elections. Journal of Law and Economics 18: 695-733.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barzel, Y. and Silberberg, E. (1973). Is the act of voting rational? Public Choice 16: 51-58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolton, P. and Roland, G. (1997). The breakup of nations: A political economy analysis. Quarterly Journal of Economics 113: 1057-1090.

    Google Scholar 

  • Borck, R. (1998). Centralization of public good supply with majority voting. Finanzarchiv 55: 21-40.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowen, H.R. (1943). The interpretation of voting in the allocation of resources. Quarterly Journal of Economics 58: 27-48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brennan, G. and Buchanan, J.M. (1980). The power to tax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brennan, G. and Lomasky, L. (1993). Democracy and decision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Capron, H. and Kruseman, J.-L. (1988). Is political rivalry an incentive to vote? Public Choice 56: 31-43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darvish, T. and Rosenberg, J. (1988). The economic model of voter participation: A further test, Public Choice 56: 185-192.

    Google Scholar 

  • Downs, A. (1957). An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper and Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Durden, G.C. and Gaynor, P. (1987). The rational behavior theory of voting participation: Evidence from the 1970 and 1982 elections. Public Choice 53: 231-242.

    Google Scholar 

  • Feddersen, T.J. and Pesendorfer, W. (1996). The swing voter's curse. American Economic Review 86: 408-424.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greene, K.V. and Nikolaev, O. (1999). Voter participation and the redistributive state. Public Choice 98: 213-226.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hansen, S., Palfrey, T.R. and Rosenthal, H. (1987). The Downsian model of electoral participation: Formal theory and empirical analysis of the constituency size effect. Public Choice 52: 15-33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Inman, R.P. and Rubinfeld, D.L. (1997a). Making sense of the antitrust state-action doctrine: Balancing political participation and economic efficiency in regulatory federalism. Texas Law Review 75: 1203-1299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Inman, R.P. and Rubinfeld, D.L. (1997b). The political economy of federalism. In D.C. Mueller (Ed.), Perspectives on public choice, 73-105. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirchgässner, G. and Meyer zu Himmern, A. (1997). Expected closeness and turnout: An empirical analysis for the German general elections, 1983-1994. Public Choice 91: 3-25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirchgässner, G. and Schimmelpfennig, J. (1992). Closeness counts if it matters for electoral victory: Some empirical results for the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany. Public Choice 73: 283-299.

    Google Scholar 

  • Larcinese, V. (1999). Rational ignorance and the public choice of redistribution. Mimeo. London School of Economics.

  • Ledyard, J.O. (1984). The pure theory of large two-candidate elections. Public Choice 44: 7-41.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lijphart, A. (1997). Unequal participation: Democracy's unresolved dilemma. American Political Science Review 91: 1-14.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lindert, P.H. (1996). What limits social spending? Explorations in Economic History 33: 1-34.

    Google Scholar 

  • Matsusaka, J.G. and Palda, F. (1993). The downsian voter meets the ecological fallacy. Public Choice 77: 855-878.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meltzer, A.H. and Richard, S.F. (1981). A rational theory of the size of government. Journal of Political Economy 89: 914-927.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mueller, D.C. and Stratmann, T. (1999). The economic effects of democratic participation. Mimeo. George Mason University.

  • Oates, W.E. (1972). Fiscal federalism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oates,W.E. (1985). Searching for Leviathan: An empirical study. American Economic Review 75: 748-757.

    Google Scholar 

  • Osborne, M.J., Rosenthal, J.S. and Turner, M.A. (2000). Meetings with costly participation. American Economic Review 90: 927-943.

    Google Scholar 

  • Persson, T. and Tabellini, G. (1994). Does centralization increase the size of government? European Economic Review 38: 765-773.

    Google Scholar 

  • Powell, G.B. (1986). Voter turnout in comparative perspective. American Political Science Review 80: 17-43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reiter, M. and Weichenrieder, A. (1997). Are public goods public?: A critical survey of the demand estimates for local public services. Finanzarchiv 54: 374-408.

    Google Scholar 

  • Riker,W.H. and Ordeshook, P.C. (1968). A theory of the calculus of voting. American Political Science Review 62: 25-42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rothenberg, L.S. and Sanders, M. (1999). Rational abstention and the congressional vote choice. Economics and Politics 11: 311-340.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tiebout, C.M. (1956). A pure theory of local expenditures. Journal of Political Economy 64: 416-424.

    Google Scholar 

  • Verba, S., Schlozman, K.L., Brady, H. and Nie, N.H. (1993). Citizen activity: Who participates? What do they say? American Political Science Review 87: 303-318.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Borck, R. Jurisdiction Size, Political Participation, and the Allocation of Resources. Public Choice 113, 251–263 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020842219315

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020842219315

Keywords

  • Population Size
  • Public Finance
  • Political Participation
  • Allocative Efficiency
  • Increase Population Size