Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Russell Sobel.


This dissertation consists of three essays, each examining a type of strategic interaction between government jurisdictions. Specifically, I explore the effect of distributive politics in the legislature on intergovernmental competition, how fiscal decentralization serves as a constraint on Leviathan government, and how state constitutions are designed in response to neighboring institutions. In essay one, I combine the Brennan and Buchanan (1977, 1978, 1980) 'Leviathan' model with the seminal Weingast, Shepsle, and Johnsen (1981) 'Law of 1/n' to show that the effect of increased decentralization on government size is limited by associated increases in legislature size. Essay two employs two distinct empirical strategies to test the 'Leviathan hypothesis' that fiscal decentralization decreases government size. While the theory holds at the municipal and county levels, school districts exhibit relatively high tax rates while simultaneously high levels of interdependence. This suggests collusive behavior at that level. In the final essay, I perform the first spatial econometric test of diffusion of constitutional rules. I find that provisions in neighboring constitutions are a key determinate of the types of provisions found in a given state's constitution.