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9. David R. Cameron. 1978. “The Expansion of the Public Economy: A Comparative Analysis.”American Political Science Review72 (December): 1243–61 Cited 387 times.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2006

David R. Cameron
Yale University


The article started as a long paper on distributional inequality in the advanced capitalist societies that I presented at the 1976 annual meeting of the APSA. Using OECD data on the post-tax distribution of income in 12 countries, I found that the extent of inequality varied inversely with the extent to which Social Democratic and other leftist parties had governed in recent years. Control of government by left-of-center parties was closely associated with the extent of and growth in the extractive capacity of the state, defined in terms of the ratio of all public revenues to GDP, and the extent of and growth in extractive capacity were closely associated with the degree of distributional equality. But there were perplexing anomalies. For example, the Netherlands, where the Left had seldom governed, experienced the largest increase in the ratio of revenues to GDP since 1960 and was the most egalitarian in terms of the post-tax distribution of income. Belgium and Ireland also experienced unusually large increases in the ratio of revenues to GDP despite infrequent control of government by left-of-center parties

© 2006 by the American Political Science Association

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