Document Type : Research Paper


1 M.Sc. Student in Environmental Economics , Faculty of Economics, Allameh Tabatabaie University

2 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics, Allameh Tabatabaie University

3 Professor, Faculty of Economics, Allameh Tabatabaie University


This article explains the differences in size and growth of governments over time. We first divide the theories of government size into three theories relating to demand side, supply side and other theories. Then these theories are empirically tested by a conceptual model for 103 countries and selected groups of countries (Muslim and socialist countries, democracies, authoritarian countries and federal countries) during the period of 1990 to 2010. The results show that among the demand side variables, per capita income, inequality and urbanization, respectively with negative, positive and positive signs, have a significant effect on the size of government. In the case of supply side variabels, indirect taxes have a significant positive effect on the size of government. Concerning other factors (factors other than the supply and demand side variables), the three variables that are the ratio of aging population, the degree of openness of the economy and the rate of female participation in the labor market have a significant positive effect on government size. The results also show that political structure, ideological structure, and presence or absence of centralization not only affect the government size but also the effect of economic variables is different when these structural factors change.


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