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Published October 25, 2017 | Submitted
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Voters, Bureaucrats and Legislators


The claim that government is excessively bureaucratic can be interpreted as an assertion about inefficient factor proportions in the production of public goods. The rational choice theory of electoral competition is extended in this paper to include the election of representatives from separate districts, ombudsman activities by legislators, self-interested bureaucrats and production functions for public activities that have bureaucratic and nonbureaucratic arguments. If the demand for public goods grows exogenously through time, the model predicts increasingly inefficient factor proportions yet a growing advantage for incumbent legislators when they seek reelection.

Additional Information

Revised. Originally dated to April 1977. The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions on an earlier draft from James Buchanan, Bruce Cain, John Jackson, Julius Margolis, Alan Peacock, Sam Peltzman, Barry Weingast, and an anonymous referee. Published as Fiorina, Morris P., and Roger G. Noll. "Voters, bureaucrats and legislators: A rational choice perspective on the growth of bureaucracy." Journal of Public Economics 9.2 (1978): 239-254.

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