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Faculty of Economics

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Aidt, T.S. and Jensen, P. S.

Democratization and the size of government: Evidence from the long 19th century

Public Choice

Vol. 157(3-4) pp. 511-542 (2013)

Abstract: We study the consequences of franchise extension and ballot reform for the size of government in Western Europe between 1820 and 1913. We find that franchise extension exhibits a U-shaped association with revenue per capita and a positive association with spending per capita. Instrumental variables estimates, however, suggest that the U-shaped relationship may be non-causal and our fixed effects estimates point to substantial cross-country heterogeneity. Further, we find that the secret ballot did not matter for tax revenues per capita but might have expanded the size of government relative to GDP.

Author links: Toke Aidt  

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