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Growing Public examines the question of whether social policies that redistribute income impose constraints on economic growth. What kept prospering nations from using taxes for social programs until the end of the nineteenth century? Why did taxes and spending then grow so much, and what are the prospects for social spending in this century? Why did North America become a leader in public education in some ways and not others? Lindert finds answers in the economic history and logic of political voice, population ageing, and income growth. Contrary to traditional beliefs, the net national costs of government social programs are virtually zero. This book not only shows that no Darwinian mechanism has punished the welfare states, but uses history to explain why this surprising result makes sense. Contrary to the intuition of many economists and the ideology of many politicians, social spending has contributed to, rather than inhibited, economic growth.
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Table of Contents

Part V. The Underlying Framework: 13. A minimal theory of social transfers; 14. A guide to the tests; Part VI. Accounting for Social Spending, Jobs and Growth: 15. Explaining the rise of mass public schooling; 16. Explaining the rise of social transfers; 17. What drove postwar social spending?; 18. Social transfers hardly affected growth; 19. Reconciling unemployment and growth in the OECD; Appendices.

Reviews

Review of the hardback: '... a monumental history of two centuries of social spending ...' The Economist Review of the hardback: 'Lindert puts forward a compelling case ... his conclusions are often illuminating and controversial ... Lindert has uncovered new and tougher areas of debate as much as he has helped deal a telling blow to others.' Transfer

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