Public Choice

, Volume 137, Issue 1–2, pp 369–401 | Cite as

Studying the role of political competition in the evolution of government size over long horizons

  • J. Stephen Ferris
  • Soo-Bin Park
  • Stanley L. Winer


Here we argue for the use of cointegration and error correction analysis to combine economic factors that are nonstationary with political factors that are stationary into an empirical model of the evolution of public policy over long periods. The approach is applied to disentangle the contributions of economics and politics to the evolution of public expenditure by the Government of Canada over 130 years. Political competition emerges as the primary political factor affecting government size.


Political competition Conditional convergence Cointegration Public expenditure Size of government Politics versus economics 

JEL Classification

D7 H1 H3 H5 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Stephen Ferris
    • 1
  • Soo-Bin Park
    • 1
  • Stanley L. Winer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada K1S 5B6
  2. 2.School of Public Policy and Department of EconomicsCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada K1S 5B6

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