Political Economics and Public Finance
AbstractObserved fiscal policy varies greatly across time and countries. How can we explain this variation? This paper surveys the recent literature that has tried to answer this question. We adopt a unified approach in portraying public policy as the equilibrium outcome of an explicitly specified political process. We divide the material into three parts. In Part I, we focus on median-voter equilibria that apply to policy issues where disagreement between voters is likely to be one-dimensional. We thus study the general redistributive programs, which are typical of the modern welfare state: redistribution between rich and poor, young and old, employed and unemployed, resident of different regions, and labour and capital. In Part II we study special interest politics. Here the policy problem is multidimensional and we focus on specific political mechanisms: we study legislative bargaining, lobbying, and electoral competition, as well as the possible interactions between these different forms of political activity. Finally, Part III deals with a set of questions that can be brought under the label of comparative politics, as we deal with policy choice under alternative political constitutions: we model some stylized features of congressional and parliamentary political systems, focusing on their implications for rent extraction by politicians, redistribution and public goods provision.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2235.
Date of creation: Sep 1999
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Other versions of this item:
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1999. "Political Economics and Public Finance," NBER Working Papers 7097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Public Finance," Working Papers 149, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
- H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
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