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Fiscal restraints and voter welfare

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Michael Smart

Abstract

This paper explores the logic of fiscal restraints in a political agency model with both moral hazard and adverse selection. The role of the political process is both to discipline incumbents who may act against the public interest and to sort in those politicians who are most likely act in voters’interests. We use the model to examine the optimality of ine¢ cient taxation, limits on the size of government, increasing trans- parency, and yardstick competition. Some conclusions are surprising. For example, we show that some forms of fiscal restraint can only be desirable when incumbents are su¢ ciently likely to be benevolent.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3769/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 3769.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3769

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  1. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Are consumption taxes really better than income taxes?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 475-503, June.
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  4. SALMON, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralization as an incentive scheme," Institut des Mathématiques Economiques – Document de travail de l’I.M.E. (1974-1993) 98, Institut des Mathématiques Economiques. LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
  5. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  6. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  7. Martin Bodenstein & Heinrich Ursprung, 2001. "Political Yardstick Competition, Economic Integration, and Constitutional Choice in a Federation," CESifo Working Paper Series 501, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. James Buchanan & Roger Congleton, 1979. "Proportional and progressive income taxation with utility-maximizing governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 217-230, June.
  9. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2001. "Incentives and Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248681, Octomber.
  10. Massimo Bordignon & Floriana Cerniglia & Federico Revelli, 2002. "In Search for Yardstick Competition: Property Tax Rates and Electoral Behavior in Italian Cities," CESifo Working Paper Series 644, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
  12. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-81, June.
  13. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2003. "Fiscal Transparency and Fiscal Policy Outcomes in OECD Countries," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
  15. BELLEFLAMME, Paul & HINDRIKS, Jean, 2002. "Yardstick competition and political agency problems," CORE Discussion Papers 2002029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  16. John Douglas Wilson, 1989. "An Optimal Tax Treatment Of Leviathan," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 97-117, 07.
  17. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
  18. North, Douglass C., 1985. "The growth of government in the United States: An economic historian's perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 383-399, December.
  19. Fischer, Stanley & Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Should Governments Learn to Live with Inflation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 382-87, May.
  20. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  22. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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