Understanding United States Government Growth develops and tests alternative explanations of government growth since World War II. It opens with an analysis of debate about the causes and consequences of government growth, including the excessive government view that the public sector has grown beyond the scope demanded by citizens due to its own structural defects, and the responsive interpretation that government has gown because it has reacted appropriately to external public demands. The authors review the major political and economic explanations for government growth and criticize earlier empirical attempts to test these explanations. In the second half of the book, they distinguish four components of government growth: growth in the cost of government and growth in the scope of government activities in three domainstransfer payments, domestic purchases, and defense purchases. Both responsive and excessive explanations of each of these components of growth are developed and tested to allow an evaluation of the validity of the two contrasting views about big government.
About the Author
WILLIAM D. BERRY is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Kentucky.
DAVID LOWERY is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Cahpel Hill.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Part I: Government Growth: Measurement, Consequences, and Causes
The Problem of Government Growth
Measuring the Size and Growth of Government
Part II: Government Growth: The Limits of Previous Theory and Research
Explanations of Government Growth
Testing the Explanations
Part III: A Disaggregated Analysis of Government Growth
Growth in the Cost of Government
Growth in the Scope of Government Purchases
Growth in the Scope of Government Transfers
Part IV: Toward a Greater Understanding of Government Growth
Government Growth: Conclusions and Implications