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Stop Us Before We Spend Again: Institutional Constraints On Government Spending

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  • DAVID M. PRIMO
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    Abstract

    A distributive politics model establishes that the presence of exogenously enforceable spending limits reduces spending and that the effect of executive veto authority is contingent on whether spending is capped and whether the chief executive is a liberal or conservative. Surprisingly, when spending limits are in place, governments with conservative executives spend more than those with more liberal chief executives. Limits are welfare improving, as is the executive veto when it leads to the building of override coalitions. Using 32 years of US state budget data, this paper also establishes empirically that strict balanced budget rules constrain spending and also lead to less pronounced short-term responses to fluctuations in a state's economy. Party variables like divided government and party control of state legislatures tend to have little or no direct effect, with political institutions and economic indicators explaining much of the variation in state spending. Copyright 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 18 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (November)
    Pages: 269-312

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:18:y:2006:i:3:p:269-312

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    Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0954-1985

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    Cited by:
    1. Levent Celik & Bilgehan Karabay & John McLaren, 2012. "When is it Optimal to Delegate: The Theory of Fast-track Authority," NBER Working Papers 17810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "The Size and Scope of Government in the US States: Does Party Ideology Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4246, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Krogstrup, Signe & Wyplosz, Charles, 2010. "A common pool theory of supranational deficit ceilings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 269-278, February.
    4. Christian Bj�rnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    5. Michael Dothan & Fred Thompson, 2009. "A better budget rule," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 463-478.
    6. Ringa Raudla, 2010. "Governing budgetary commons: what can we learn from Elinor Ostrom?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 201-221, December.
    7. Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "The economic effects of constitutional budget institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 236-251.
    8. Levent Celik & Bilgehan Karabay & John McLaren, 2011. "Trade Policy Making in a Model of Legislative Bargaining," NBER Working Papers 17262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld, 2014. "A Note on Budget Rules and Fiscal Federalism," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 03-11, 04.

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