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GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURES: Spending by the government sector including both the purchase of final goods and services, or gross domestic product, and transfer payments. Government expenditures are used by the government sector to undertake key functions, such as national defense and education. These expenditures are financed with a combination of taxes and borrowing.

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FISCAL POLICY: Use of the federal government's powers of spending and taxation to stabilize the business cycle. If the economy is mired in a recession, then the appropriate fiscal policy is to increase spending or reduce taxes--termed expansionary policy. During periods of high inflation, the opposite actions are needed--contractionary policy. The consequences of fiscal policy are typically observed in terms of the federal deficit.

     See also | government sector | stabilization policies | government purchases | taxes | transfer payments | federal deficit | full-employment budget | business cycle | recession | contraction | expansion | unemployment | inflation | crowding out | expansionary fiscal policy | contractionary fiscal policy | automatic stabilizer | monetary policy | recessionary gap | inflationary gap |


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VOTING PROBLEMS

Voting is a key source of government inefficiency because it can fail to provided leaders with a valid indication of society's preferences. Part of the inefficiency rests with utility-maximizing decisions of the voters, who choose rational ignorance (not to be informed) and rational abstention (not to participate), both of which lead to voter apathy and influential special interest groups. Part of the inefficiency rests with the voting process, which results in importance of the median voter, inconsistency of the voting paradox, and logrolling (vote-trading ) among voters.

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