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Leviathan Models of Government

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The Encyclopedia of Public Choice

Abstract

Geoffrey Brennan and James Buchanan first developed the Leviathan model of government, in their 1980 book The Power to Tax. In this early formulation government is assumed to act as a monopolist that maximizes tax revenues. Such representation is driven by the other fundamental assumption that the authors make, namely, that rational ignorance, fiscal illusion and outright collusion among elected officials deprive taxpayers-voters of any control they may have over government. Hence the reference to Hobbes’ Leviathan. In The Power to Tax, Brennan and Buchanan develop the fiscal consequences of the revenue maximizing government and point out the constitutional provisions that may hinder the Leviathan in its drive to appropriate taxpayers’ resources.

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© 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Padovano, F. (2004). Leviathan Models of Government. In: Rowley, C.K., Schneider, F. (eds) The Encyclopedia of Public Choice. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-306-47828-4_135

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-306-47828-4_135

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-7923-8607-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-306-47828-4

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