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The Independent Institute
Working Paper

Has Leviathan Been Bound?
A Theory of Imperfectly Constrained Government with Evidence from the States


WORKING PAPER #3

Abstract: This paper develops a formal theory that combines power-maximizing "Leviathan" political parties with well-defined imperfections in the political process. The model implies that both parties tend to make government larger as their likelihood of electoral victory increases. Empirical tests on state-level data confirm this prediction. Racing the Leviathan hypothesis against alternatives theories of party motivation indicates that both the Leviathan and the "contrasting ideologies" views have some degree of validity.