Democratization and the Size of Government: Evidence from the Long 19th Century

TOKE S. AIDT AND PETER S. JENSEN
PUBLIC CHIOCE. ARTICLE FIRST PUBLISHED ONLINE: MARCH 2013. DOI 10.1007/s11127-013-0073-y

Abstract: The authors study the consequences of franchise extension and ballot reform for the size of government in Western Europe between 1820 and 1913. They 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, they find that the secret ballot did not matter for tax revenues per capita but might have.