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Persistent Ideology and the Determination of Public Policy over Time

43 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2009  

Zheng Michael Song

Fudan University - School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 24, 2009


This paper investigates how public policy responds to persistent ideological shifts in dynamic politico-economic equilibria. To this end, we develop a tractable model to analyze the dynamic interactions among public policy, individuals' intertemporal choice and the evolution of political constituency. Analytical solutions are obtained to characterize Markov perfect equilibria. Our main finding is that a right-wing ideology may increase the size of government. Data from a panel of 18 OECD countries confirm that after controlling for the partisan effect, there is a positive relationship between the right-wing political constituency and the government size. This is consistent with our theoretical prediction, but hard to explain by existing theories.

Keywords: Markov Equilibrium, Persistent Ideology, Political Economy, Public Policy, Repeated Voting

JEL Classification: D72, E62

Suggested Citation

Song, Zheng Michael, Persistent Ideology and the Determination of Public Policy over Time (March 24, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Zheng Song (Contact Author)

Fudan University - School of Economics ( email )

600 GuoQuan Road
Shanghai, 200433

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