This paper empirically evaluates whether government ideology and electoral motives influenced the growth of public health expenditures in 18 OECD countries over the 1971-2004 period. The results suggest that incumbents behaved opportunistically and increased the growth of public health expenditures in election years. Government ideology did not have an influence. These findings indicate (1) the importance of public health in policy debates before elections and (2) the political pressure towards re-organizing public health policy platforms especially in times of demographic change. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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