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Mandatory versus Discretionary Spending: The Status Quo Effect

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  • Bowen, T. Renee

    (Stanford University)

  • Chen, Ying

    (AZ State University)

  • Eraslan, Hulya

    (Johns Hopkins University)

Abstract

Do mandatory spending programs such as Medicare improve efficiency? We analyze a model with two parties allocating a fixed budget to a public good and private transfers each period over an infinite horizon. We compare two institutions that differ in whether public good spending is discretionary or mandatory. We model mandatory spending as an endogenous status quo since it is enacted by law and remains in effect until changed. Mandatory programs result in higher public good spending; furthermore, they ex ante Pareto dominate discretionary programs when parties are patient, persistence of power is low, and polarization is low.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 2121.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2121

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  1. John Duggan & Tasos Kalandrakis, 2007. "Dynamic Legislative Policy Making," Wallis Working Papers WP45, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  2. Song, Zheng Michael & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2012. "Rotten Parents and Disciplined Children: A Politico-Economic Theory of Public Expenditure and Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 8738, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Anesi, Vincent, 2010. "Noncooperative foundations of stable sets in voting games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 488-493, November.
  4. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Golosov, Mikhail & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2011. "Power fluctuations and political economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 1009-1041, May.
  6. Facundo Piguillem & Alessandro Riboni, 2012. "Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures," EIEF Working Papers Series 1206, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Dec 2012.
  7. Kalandrakis, Anastassios, 2004. "A three-player dynamic majoritarian bargaining game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 294-322, June.
  8. Wioletta Dziuda & Antoine Loeper, 2010. "Dynamic Collective Choice with Endogenous Status Quo," Discussion Papers 1514, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Vincent Anesi & Daniel J Seidmann, 2012. "Bargaining in Standing Committees," Discussion Papers 2012-09, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
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Cited by:
  1. Baron, David P. & Bowen, T. Renee, 2013. "Dynamic Coalitions," Research Papers 2128, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Facundo Piguillem & Alessandro Riboni, 2013. "Spending Biased Legislators - Discipline Through Disagreement," EIEF Working Papers Series 1317, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jul 2013.

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