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Electoral Rules, Forms of Government, and Political Budget Cycles in Transition Countries

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  • Marko Klašnja

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    (Peterson Institute for International Economics, USA)

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    Abstract

    Recent studies have suggested the existence of election-year economics in fiscal policy in transition countries. This study asks whether such electoral cycles in aggregate measures (overall expenditures, revenues and balance) and spending composition (broad vs. targeted outlays) differ among countries with different political systems. This question is motivated by a sharp division between majoritarianpresidential systems in Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and proportional-parliamentary systems in the Baltics, Central and Southeastern Europe. Further, in the absence of context-sensitive theories, the paper asks whether observed outcomes in the transition process conform to the theoretical priors developed for conditions in stable democracies. Finally, the paper attempts to normatively establish whether either of the alternative combinations yields more optimal policy outcomes. The results suggest that the differences indeed exist, primarily on the revenue side and in the composition of expenditures. These results differ markedly from those for stable democracies, especially in the case of composition of spending. Normatively, presidentialism yields suboptimal outcomes in comparison to parliamentarianism, likely due to inefficient system of constitutionally intended checks and balances..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia in its journal Panoeconomicus.

    Volume (Year): 55 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 185-218

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    Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:55:y:2008:i:2:p:185-218

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    Web page: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/

    Related research

    Keywords: Political budget cycles; Transition countries; Electoral rules; Forms of government; Checks and balances;

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    1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2003. "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 958-989, 06.
    2. Jorge Streb & Daniel Lema & Gustavo Torrens, 2005. "Discretional political budget cycles and separation of powers," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 286, Universidad del CEMA.
    3. Mark Hallerberg & Lúcio Vinhas de Souza, 2000. "The Political Business Cycles of EU Accession Countries," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-085/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
    5. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2005. "The Political Budget Cycle is Where You Can't See It: Transparency and Fiscal Manipulation," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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