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Making rules credible: divided government and political budget cycles

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  • Jorge Streb

    ()

  • Gustavo Torrens

    ()

Abstract

Political budget cycles (PBCs) can result from the credibility problems office-motivated incumbents face under asymmetric information, due to the temptation to manipulate fiscal policy to increase their electoral chances. We analyze the role of rules that limit public debt, because borrowing is a necessary condition for aggregate PBCs. Since the legislature must typically authorize new debt, divided government can make these fiscal rules credible. Commitment is undermined by either unified government or imperfect compliance with the budget law, which can help explain why PBCs are stronger in developing countries and in new democracies. When divided government affects efficiency, voters must trade off electoral distortions and government competence. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-012-9923-2
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 156 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 703-722

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:156:y:2013:i:3:p:703-722

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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Keywords: Political budget cycles; Unified government; Rules; Credibility; Divided government; D72; D78; H60;

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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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  4. Jorge M. Streb, 2001. "Signaling in Political Cycles. How far are you willing to go?," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 193, Universidad del CEMA.
  5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  6. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Gustavo Torrens, 2009. "Checks and Balances on Political Budget Cycles: Cross-Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 426-447, 08.
  7. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1996. "Political Business Cycles and Fiscal Policies in Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 155-70.
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  9. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  10. Susanne Lohmann, 1998. "Rationalizing the Political Business Cycle: A Workhorse Model," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, 03.
  11. Jorge M. Streb & Alejandro Saporiti, 2003. "Separation of Powers and Political Budget Cycles," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 251, Universidad del CEMA.
  12. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2011. "La economía política de la política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 455, Universidad del CEMA.
  2. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema, 2009. "Temporal aggregation in political budget cycles," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 403, Universidad del CEMA.
  3. Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2013. "Ciclos electorales en política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 514, Universidad del CEMA.

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