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Research Series: Understanding Support for Government Spending and Taxes

Professor of Political Science James Garand presents his research
When Jan 26, 2012
from 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM
Where West Laville Study
Contact Name
Contact Phone 225-578-2479
Attendees Honors College Students
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What are the spending and taxation preferences of Americans? Previous research on the spending preferences of citizens in democratic societies has been dominated by the use of survey questions that focus on the spending side of the equation, with little attention paid to how spending preferences are constrained by the need to generate revenues to fund government spending. In this presentation, we consider the use of alternative questions that explicitly link respondents’ spending and taxation preferences. Using data from the 2002 Louisiana Survey and, to a lesser extent, the 2000 and 2004 American National Election Study surveys, we begin by showing that individuals exhibit strong pro-spending attitudes and strong anti-taxation attitudes when asked separate questions about specific spending areas and tax revenue sources. The result is that Americans appear to be almost schizophrenic in their spending and taxation preferences, insofar as a large proportion of individuals exhibit seemingly incongruent spending and taxation preferences.

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