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Government Fragmentation And Budgetary Policy In "Good" And "Bad" Times In Flemish Municipalities

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  • John Ashworth
  • Bruno Heyndels
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    Abstract

    Using a panel of budgetary data over the period 1989-1996, we analyse how political fragmentation of Flemish local governments affects their reactions in the context of a major reform of the grant system. This reform reallocated grants among municipalities and thus unavoidably created "winners" and "losers". Thus, it is possible to distinguish between political reactions in good and bad times. The presence of a balanced budget requirement implies that in bad times municipalities have to react whereas in good times the decision to react is endogenous to the government. The results are in line with the hypotheses, if not the findings, of Kontopoulos and Perotti (1999) in that we find that fragmentation is important both in good and in bad times. Coalition size - the number of political parties - plays a crucial role when the budgetary shock is endogenous (in "good times" when grants increase). In this case, we find that more-party governments spend more of the additional funds. On the other hand, cabinet size - the number of spending ministers (aldermen) - is the relevant dimension of fragmentation when the reaction is exogenous (in "bad times"). When grants are cut back, expenditures are cut back more in municipalities with fewer ministers. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economics & Politics.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2005)
    Issue (Month): (07)
    Pages: 245-263

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:17:y:2005:i::p:245-263

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    1. Edin, P-A. & Ohlsson, H., 1990. "Political Determinants Of Budget Deficits: Coalition Effects Versus Minority Effects," Papers 1990k, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    2. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
    3. Bruno Heyndels, 2001. "Asymmetries in the flypaper effect: empirical evidence for the Flemish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(10), pages 1329-1334.
    4. Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2002. "Spending Growth With Vertical Fiscal Imbalance: Decentralized Government Spending In Norway, 1880-1990," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(3), pages 351-373, November.
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    8. Ashworth, John & Heyndels, Bruno & Smolders, Carine, 2002. "Redistribution as a Local Public Good: An Empirical Test for Flemish Municipalities," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 27-56.
    9. de Haan, Jakob & Sturm, Jan-Egbert, 1997. "Political and economic determinants of OECD budget deficits and government expenditures: A reinvestigation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 739-750, December.
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    12. Bruno Heyndels & Frank Van Driessche, 2002. "How municipalities react to budgetary windfalls," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 211-226, November.
    13. Gamkhar, Shama & Oates, Wallace E., 1996. "Asymmetries in the Response to Increases and Decreases in Intergovernmental Grants: Some Empirical Findings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 501-12, December.
    14. Lars-Erik Borge, 1995. "Lump-Sum Intergovernmental Grants Have Price Effects: a Note," Public Finance Review, , vol. 23(2), pages 271-274, April.
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    16. Clingermayer, James C, 1991. " An Intergenerational Transfer Model of State Debt Financing," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 13-21, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Stijn Goeminne & Benny Geys & Carine Smolders, 2008. "Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 297-315, June.
    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. Maciej Turala & Justyna Danielewicz, 2013. "Political Fragmentation And External Sources Of Funding In Local Governments. Do Power Struggles Matter?," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 69-80, JUNE.
    4. Björn Kauder & Benjamin Larin & Niklas Potrafke, 2014. "Was bringt uns die große Koalition? Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 172, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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