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A Distributional Theory of Government Growth

Holger Strulik ()

No 04-26, Discussion Papers from University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics

Abstract: This paper presents a closed form solution for time-consistent taxation and public spending in a dynamic game between government and median voter. Extending Meltzer and Richard’s static analysis of government size the paper offers a theory of growth of government. At low stages of economic development the median voter, identified as a relatively poor worker, prefers to have no or only small redistributive taxation in order to foster savings. Through this channel he expects improvements of his labor productivity and wage. At higher stages of development, however, when capital is relatively abundant and prospects of further labor productivity gains through capital accumulation are smaller, the incentive to tax and redistribute income rises. Yet, in line with previous work on growth and infrastructure spending the median voter prefers a constant share of productive public spending at all times. Hence, government growth is solely driven by an expanding welfare state.

Keywords: redistribution; government growth; Markov-perfect equilibrium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E6 H21 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2004-09
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Journal Article: A distributional theory of government growth (2007) Downloads
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