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Government Growth

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Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC,volume 40)


Explanations for the growth of the government that imply that it always grows are obviously destroyed by the early period histories. Something must have happened to change the way in which we respond to our governments or our governments respond to us. I have offered Bismarckism as a possible explanation, but I should emphasize that is all it is—a possible explanation.

The author “Gordon Tullock” is deceased at the time of publication.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-55081-3_2
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  1. 1.

    This article originally appeared as Tullock (1995). It is reprinted here to make it more widely available. We thank the Department of Economics at National Chengchi University and the estate of Gordon Tullock for permission to reprint this paper. Minor edits to correct typographical errors have been made, as well introducing and labeling of sections.

  2. 2.

    I should say here, just as an expression of personal opinion, that I do not believe the various measures undertaken by either Mr. Hoover or Mr. Roosevelt were well designed to deal with the depression. Indeed, the fact that the United States had the deepest depression except for Germany and had the slowest recovery from that depression (with another depression in 1937 before recovery was completed) seems to me a result or these injudicious measures. The matter is, however, not very relevant here.

  3. 3.

    As another change, this was the first time that we did not repay our war debt in the period after the war. In the 1920s we had not completely repaid the debt when the depression broke but sizable payments on it were made.

  4. 4.

    “If the data is tortured long enough, it will confess,” in the famous worlds of Ronald Coase.

  5. 5.

    Note the size of the Boer War’s increase in expenditures. The fact that some 30,000 farmers could impose this kind of cost on the immense British empire shows what good fighters they were.


  • Buchanan J, Rowley C, Tollison R (eds) (1987) Deficits. Basil Blackwell, Oxford

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  • Tullock G (1995) Government growth. Taiwan J Polit Econ 1(1):21–36

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Correspondence to Gordon Tullock .

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Tullock, G. (2021). Government Growth. In: Hall, J., Khoo, B. (eds) Essays on Government Growth. Studies in Public Choice, vol 40. Springer, Cham.

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