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The Electoral Consequences of Large Fiscal Adjustments

In: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Dorian Carloni
  • Giampaolo Lecce

Abstract

The conventional wisdom regarding the political consequences of large reductions of budget deficits is that they are very costly for the governments which implement them: they are punished by voters at the following elections. In the present paper, instead, we find no evidence that governments which quickly reduce budget deficits are systematically voted out of office in a sample of 19 OECD countries from 1975 to 2008. We also take into consideration issues of reverse causality, namely the possibility that only "strong and popular" governments can implement fiscal adjustments and thus they are not voted out of office "despite" having reduced the deficits. In the end we conclude that many governments can reduce deficits avoiding an electoral defeat.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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This chapter was published in:

  • Alberto Alesina & Francesco Giavazzi, 2013. "Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ales11-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12654.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12654

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    1. Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Heipertz, Martin & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2006. "Expenditure reform in industralised countries: a case study approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-50, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2004. "Political Budget Cycles in New versus Established Democracies," NBER Working Papers 10539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alexander Plekhanov & Manmohan S. Kumar & Daniel Leigh, 2007. "Fiscal Adjustments: Determinants and Macroeconomic Consequences," IMF Working Papers 07/178, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Marco Buti & Alessandro Turrini & Paul Van den Noord & Pietro Biroli, 2010. "Reforms and re-elections in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 25, pages 61-116, 01.
    5. Roberto Perotti, 2011. "The "Austerity Myth": Gain Without Pain?," NBER Working Papers 17571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Marco Buti & Alessandro Turrini & Paul Van den Noord & Pietro Biroli, 2008. "Defying the 'Juncker Curse': Can Reformist Governments Be Re-elected?," European Economy - Economic Papers 324, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Marco Buti & Paul Noord, 2004. "Fiscal Discretion and Elections in the Early Years of EMU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 737-756, November.
    8. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
    9. Honkapohja, Seppo & Koskela, Erkki, 2002. "The Economic Crisis of the 1990s in Finland," Discussion Papers 683, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    10. Marco Buti & Paul van den Noord, 2004. "Fiscal policy in EMU: Rules, discretion and political incentives," European Economy - Economic Papers 206, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    11. Roberto Perotti, 2011. "The "Austerity Myth": Gain without Pain?," Working Papers 430, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    12. Roberto Perotti, 2011. "The "Austerity myth": Gain Without Pain?," BIS Working Papers 362, Bank for International Settlements.
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    Cited by:
    1. Susan Lund & Charles Roxburgh, 2010. "Debt and Deleveraging," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 11(2), pages 1-30, April.
    2. Atif R. Mian & Amir Sufi & Francesco Trebbi, 2012. "Resolving Debt Overhang: Political Constraints in the Aftermath of Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 17831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Linda Gonçalves Veiga, 2013. "Voting functions in the EU-15," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 411-428, December.

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