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On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model

Per Krusell and José-Víctor Ríos-Rull
The American Economic Review
Vol. 89, No. 5 (Dec., 1999), pp. 1156-1181
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/117052
Page Count: 26
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On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model
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Abstract

We study a dynamic version of Meltzer and Richard's median-voter model of the size of government. Taxes are proportional to total income, and they are redistributed as equal lump-sum transfers. Voting takes place periodically over time, and each consumer votes for the tax rate that maximizes his equilibrium utility. We calibrate the model to U.S. data. Key elements in the calibration are the income and wealth distribution and the parameters governing the leisure and consumption choices. The total size of transfers predicted by our political-economy model is quite close to the size of transfers in the data.

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