The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government

JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, Vol. 105, No. 1, February 1997

Posted: 11 Feb 1997

See all articles by Thomas A. Husted

Thomas A. Husted

American University - Department of Economics

Lawrence W. Kenny

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper examines the claim that expansion of the voting franchise has been an important factor in the growth of government. State government spending and state and local spending are explained using a panel of 46 states for 1950-88. Elimination of poll taxes and literacy tests led to higher turnout, particularly among the poor, and a poorer pivotal voter. As predicted, we find that these changes, a fall in the income of voters relative to state income, and the ouster of Republicans from state government led to a sharp rise in welfare spending but no change in other spending.

JEL Classification: H72, D72

Suggested Citation

Husted, Thomas A. and Kenny, Lawrence W., The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government. JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, Vol. 105, No. 1, February 1997, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4628

Thomas A. Husted

American University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20016-8029
United States

Lawrence W. Kenny (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 117140
Gainesville, FL 32611-7140
United States
352-392-0117 (Phone)
352-392-7860 (Fax)

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