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Voters, parties, and the endogenous size of government

Опубликовано на портале: 15-12-2002
American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 2002.  Vol. 61. No. 1. P. 79-102. 
Тематический раздел:
Elections, often to a considerable degree, influence the fiscal policies of governments installed on the basis of their results. Yet, economists have tended to view politicians' behavior either as being determined exogenously or as the result of a social planner's maximization of a well-defined social-welfare function (subject to some appropriate technology and resource constraints). On the basis of explicit microeconomic foundations and a democratically coordinated decision-making mechanism over the optimal provision of public goods and the corresponding taxes required to finance them, this paper will introduce a simple economic model of politics that subjects individuals to a two-tiered political decision-making process over party membership and electoral participation, thereby endogenizing the evolution of the competing parties' ideologies, households' electoral behavior, and the key factors explaining the design of fiscal policies. Having the majority party's median delegate determine on the optimal degree of income redistribution suggests that a country's wealth distribution is a crucial explanatory variable explaining its politico-economic development path.