The question is often raised: is there a relationship between the size of state and local government budgets and the degree to which they are unionized? Over the ten-year period between 1980 and 1990, spending by state and local governments increased by 125 percent. In Political Participation, Public Sector Labor Unions and Public Spending, two economists assess the impact of unions representing government workers on the cost of governments.
Earlier studies had proved the reasonable hypothesis that public employees had a vested interest in increasing the size of government. It had also been shown that public sector employees tend, for a number of reasons, to become more involved in politics than their private sector counterparts. Through the use of case studies, the authors of this study focus on the relative abilities of unions in the public sector to influence government budgets.