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  • Author or Editor: Franklin G. Mixon Jr x
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A classic study by Goff - Tollison [1987] finds empirical support for the idea that variations in Vietnam War (1965-1971) casualties across the U.S. states were a function of variations in political influence across the U.S. states wielded by members of the U.S. Congress, as more senior and influential federal legislators were in a position to have soldiers transferred from combat zones to safer areas. This study revisits this issue by investigating the allocation of death among the minor participating countries in the Afghanistan War (2001- present) against the backdrop of political influence wielded by high-ranking officials in the United Nations, as well as political pressure borne out of important fiscal and commercial relationships between the U.S. and other nations. Results from a hurdle model suggest that possession of high-ranking posts within the U.N. provides the political influence necessary to reduce military deaths among the minor participating countries that occupy them. The results also suggest that maintaining a free trade relationship with the U.S., or being the recipient of U.S. aid, puts political pressure on a minor participating country to place combatants in harm's way in a war being led by the U.S.

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Almost one third of all who served in the US Senate between 1943 and 2020 ascended to their positions in that legislative body directly from the US House of Representatives. Thus, we model the legislative branch of the US government as an internal labour market, wherein members of the lower chamber seek ‘promotion’ (that is, election) to positions in the more prestigious upper chamber. This process includes the possibility that some US representatives are being promoted to positions in the Senate for which they are not competent, a situation referred to as the Peter Principle. Another possibility is that the ‘most ineffective’ US representatives are using this internal labour market to attain promotion to the Senate, an outcome that is referred to as the Dilbert Principle. Gallup polling data on the job approval by the public of the US Congress, along with absenteeism data on members of the US Senate, support both possibilities from our formal model.

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Public choice interpretations of historical events represent a growing literature in economics. This particular study follows in, and builds upon, this tradition by examining, through the public choice lens, events leading up to die U.S. presidential election of 1864. We posit that die modern theory of bureaucracy, as described in Breton and Wintrobe [ 1982], perhaps best explains die way in which Abraham Lincoln’s subordinates assisted, sometimes even manipulating the gears of die federal (Union) government in doing so, in his re-election effort. That bureaucracy, which we refer to herein as Lincoln's wartime incumbency network, was based on a system of «vertical trust», and included an incentive structure wherein subordinates provided Lincoln with «informal services» related to his re-election in 1864, and were provided in return with «informal payments», which often consisted of ex ante/ex post promotions and/or nominations for other government positions.

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The paper examines a consequence of the legislative agenda established by the 1994 Republican «Contract with America» (CWA). Through its myriad of block grant programs, the 104th and 105th Congresses which succeeded the CWA would work to increase discretionary public resources across the country by sending federal taxation revenues back to the 50 states. Such an action predictably leads to an increase in die value of holding state-wide legislative office according to public choice theory, and would therefore be expected to lead to an increase in the number of candidates for these offices. This study generates Parks regression results for various equations using state-wide House elections data before and after 1994 to support this contention.

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This study examines the impact of research published in the two core public choice journals – Public Choice and the Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice – during the five-year period from 2010 through 2014. Scholars representing almost 400 universities contributed impactful research to these journals over this period, allowing us to rank institutions on the basis of citations to this published research. Our work indicates that public choice scholarship emanating from non-US colleges and universities has surged, with the University of Göttingen, University of Linz, Heidelburg University, University of Oxford, University of Konstanz, Aarhus University, University of Groningen, Paderborn University, University of Minho and University of Cambridge occupying ten of the top 15 positions in our worldwide ranking. Even so, US-based institutions still maintain a lofty presence, with Georgetown University, Emory University, the University of Illinois and George Mason University each holding positions among the top five institutions worldwide.

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This paper reconciles previous approaches to measure the ‘home-state effect’ in U.S. presidential elections by using the latest data [i.e., 1972-2004], with additional techniques designed to flesh out the role that state size and presidential term play in the determination (or not) of the U.S. presidential vote share of the home state's candidates. From this study, three compelling themes emerge: (1) the home-state effect in presidential elections generally falls in the 4.0 to 6.0 percentage points range, (2) any home-state effect that does exist seems to emanate from the role localism plays in smaller environments (e.g., Arkansas and Georgia), and (3) the home-state effect shown here and in previous studies appears to also be rooted in a first-term effect, which one would expect given the lack of information on the governing behavior of freshmen presidents.

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The present paper examines the impact of passage of The Congressional Accountability Act of1995 (CAA9T), which imposed 11 major federal labor laws on die U.S. Congress for the first time, on employment in Congress. By modeling Congress as a firm which purchases inputs (e.g., capital, labor, etc.) to produce output (e.g., legislation), die impact of federal laws regarding minimum wages, occupational safety and health, family and medical leave, and others is amenable to econometric testing. After subjecting the data series to various unit root and cointegration tests, an error-correction model suggests that passage of CAA95 did indeed lead to a significant reduction in congressional employment levels, ceteris paribus.

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The current study uses a large panel data set of open-seat races in die U.S. House of Representatives over the period 1990-2008 to explore the relationship between relative campaign spending and victory/defeat - the salient issue in political contests - in open-seat congressional races. According to maximum likelihood estimates, for Republican candidates, the probability of winning an open-seat election (wherein total campaign spending by both major political parties is $2.5 million) rises by 0.130 if that candidate increases, ceteris paribus, his or her campaign spending advantage from $0.25 million to $0.5 million, and again by 0.243 if the campaign spending advantage rises from $0.5 million to $1.0 million. Our results also indicate tJiat the national tide favoring Republicans in 1994 was clearly stronger than the national tide favoring Democrats in 2006. Finally, presidential coattails, political party influence, and candidates’ prior experience in elective office are all important in explaining wins/losses in open-seat election contests.

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With the 1974 publication of his study titled ‘The lighthouse in economics’, Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase demonstrated that England’s history of lighthouse services provision includes examples of private sector involvement, dating back to 1614 and going forward to 1816. Critics argue, however, that Coase perhaps overstated the case in concluding that most lighthouse services during this period were ‘privately provided’, and instead explain that this particular industry provides an example of a mixed system of private-public partnerships. This study integrates these critiques into a Coase-type examination of the existence of ‘private-ness’ in lighthouse services provision in colonial American history. In doing so, it fills a hole in the literature that has existed since Coase’s examination of the history of lighthouse services provision in England.

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