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Government Spending and Legislative Organization: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Germany

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  • Peter Egger
  • Marko Koethenbuerger

Abstract

This paper presents empirical evidence of a positive effect of council size on government spending using a dataset of 2,056 municipalities in the German state of Bavaria over a period of 21 years. We apply a regression discontinuity design to avoid an endogeneity bias. In particular, we exploit discontinuities in the legal rule that relate population size of a municipality in order to council size to identify a causal relationship between council size and public spending, and find a robust positive impact of council size on spending. Moreover, we show that municipalities primarily adjust current expenditure in response to a rise in council size. (JEL D72, H72, R51)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 200-212

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:200-212

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.4.200
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References

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  1. Reza Baqir, 2002. "Districting and Government Overspending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1318-1354, December.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, 09.
  4. DelRossi, Alison F. & Inman, Robert P., 1999. "Changing the price of pork: the impact of local cost sharing on legislators' demands for distributive public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 247-273, February.
  5. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2004. "Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Discussion Papers 350, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  7. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Do large cabinets favor large governments? Evidence on the fiscal commons problem for Swiss Cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 35-47, February.
  9. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
  10. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  11. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko, 2009. "Do Political Parties Matter? Evidence from U.S. Cities-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 399-422, February.
  12. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  13. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  14. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tuukka Saarimaa & Janne Tukiainen, 2012. "Politics in Coalition Formation of Local Governments," SERC Discussion Papers 0102, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2013. "Coalition governments, cabinet size, and the common pool problem: Evidence from the German states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 356-376.
  3. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2013. "Does local council size affect land development expenditure? Quasi-experimental evidence from Japanese municipal data," MPRA Paper 43723, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & da Fonseca, Mariana Lopes, 2013. "Electoral thresholds and political outcomes: Quasi-experimental evidence from a reform in Germany," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 177, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  5. Leonzio Rizzo & Alberto Zanardi, 2012. "Single vs double ballot and party coalitions: the impact on fiscal policy. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 2012/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  6. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2013. "Signature Requirements and Citizen Initiatives: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1311, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  7. Garmann, Sebastian, 2013. "Elected or Appointed? How the Nomination Scheme of the City Manager Influences the Effects of Government Fragmentation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79892, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2011. "Municipal mergers and special provisions of local council members in Japan," MPRA Paper 37485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2012. "Local government expenditure and council size: Quasi-experimental evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 42799, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Asatryan, Zareh & Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2014. "The effect of direct democracy on the level and structure of local taxes," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-003, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Asatryan, Zareh & Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Grigoriadis, Theocharis & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2013. "Direct democracy and local public finances under cooperative federalism," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-038, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Emanuele Bracco & Alberto Brugnoli, 2012. "Runoff vs. plurality," Working Papers 23767067, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  13. Florian Ade & Ronny Freier, 2011. "When Can We Trust Population Thresholds in Regression Discontinuity Designs?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1136, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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