Sentences against Madison

by on December 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

This concerns state legislatures, and the paper is from Noel Campbell and David Mitchell:

As political power is consolidated in either party, economic freedom increases. This is consistent with a model wherein the median voter has effective agency control with positive monitoring costs and prefers a particular level of so-called economic freedom. These results are inconsistent with Leviathan models of state legislatures.

In other words, in this setting divided government is leading to greater government power rather than limiting it.  Could the same be true at the federal level as well?

Hat tip goes to Kevin Lewis.

1 Neal Meyer December 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Dr. Cowen, if you look at the federal level of government during the 20th century, whenever one party has had unified control of Congress and the Presidency, the result has been an expansion of federal power and increased growth in spending. That has been true of Republicans as well as Democrats. When the result has been gridlock, it slows down.

The best result from a fiscal perspective, arguably, during the 20th century, is when there is a Democrat in the White House, but when the Republican Party has control of both the House and the Senate.

2 mjw149 December 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Ummmm… no. I think FDR’s reign, Reagan’s, Bush’s obviously speaks against this. Why did spending go up under the GOP this decade? Why did they start 2 wars and a new social program? Clinton had NAFTA under unified gov’t and welfare reform under divided. State politics aren’t well represented here, either, since voters in reality do very little monitoring (in US states), hence Governor Perry’s banana Republic continues to re-elect him.

3 Norman Pfyster December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I think the important language is “and prefers a particular level of so-called economic freedom.” That simply turns the issue into one of efficacy, and of course unified government is more efficacious than a divided one. You can really get published writing something so obvious?

4 Noel Campbell December 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Apparently, I can! Shocking, isn’t it? 😉

5 Mike Huben December 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

The key language is “so-called economic freedom.”

“Economic freedom” is a libertarian codeword for what plutocrats and corporations want. A unified government is easier to purchase than a divided government. Hence plutocrats and corporations can corrupt a united government more easily to get what they want.

6 Don December 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

Does one speak that way on this site?

7 jva December 14, 2011 at 2:12 am

Only in comments.

8 Wonks Anonymous December 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Sounds like it contradicts this Bryan Caplan paper:

9 Skip Intro December 13, 2011 at 7:16 am

Economic freedom will increase when the median voter wants more economic freedom?


10 Don December 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

This explains the economic engine that is California, no? Yes? No? Hummmm?

11 anon December 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

People don’t actually still believe that enlightenment BS, do they?

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