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Do Parties Matter for Fiscal Policy Choices? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach

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Author Info

  • Pettersson-Lidbom , Per

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

Abstract

This paper presents a method for measuring the causal effect of party control on fiscal policy outcomes. The source of identifying information comes from an institutional feature of the election system, namely that party control changes discontinuously at 50 percent of the vote share, i.e., a party that receives more than 50 percent of the votes will be in office. The approach is applied to a very large panel data set from Swedish local governments, which offers a number of attractive features. The results show that there is large and significant party effect: on average, left-wing parties spend and tax 2.5 percent more than right-wing governments. The party effect constitutes 1 percent of average municipality income, clearly a sizeable effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:15.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 17 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0015

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Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Email:
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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Keywords: political parties; party control; regression-discontinuity design;

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References

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  1. Jon Faust & John Irons, 1996. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," International Finance Discussion Papers 572, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Pettersson Lidbom, Per, 2003. "A Test of the Rational Electoral-Cycle Hypothesis," Research Papers in Economics 2003:16, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  3. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
  4. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  7. Martin J. Osborne, 1995. "Spatial Models of Political Competition under Plurality Rule: A Survey of Some Explanations of the Number of Candidates and the Positions They Take," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(2), pages 261-301, May.
  8. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
  9. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  10. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "The Effects Of Class Size On Student Achievement: New Evidence From Population Variation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1239-1285, November.
  11. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-98, August.
  12. Faust, Jon & Irons, John S., 1999. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 61-89, February.
  13. Pettersson Lidbom, Per, 2003. "Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Research Papers in Economics 2003:18, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  14. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
  15. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  16. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2013. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," Economics Discussion Papers 739, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Henderson, J. Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari, 2011. "Corruption and local democratization in Indonesia: The role of Islamic parties," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 164-180, March.
  3. Hanna Ågren & Matz Dahlberg & Eva Mörk, 2007. "Do politicians’ preferences correspond to those of the voters? An investigation of political representation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 137-162, January.
  4. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2006. "Identifying Strategic Interactions in Swedish Local Income Tax Policies," Working Paper Series 2006:22, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2004. "Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Discussion Papers 350, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  6. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-44, January.
  7. Pettersson Lidbom, Per, 2003. "A Test of the Rational Electoral-Cycle Hypothesis," Research Papers in Economics 2003:16, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  8. Pettersson Lidbom, Per, 2003. "Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Research Papers in Economics 2003:18, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  9. J. Vernon Henderson & Ari Kuncoro, 2006. "Sick of Local Government Corruption? Vote Islamic," NBER Working Papers 12110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Santarossa, Gino, 2008. "Note d'introduction sur l'évaluation d'impact d'un programme public par la méthode de régression par discontinuité
    [The Evaluation of Public Program Effect Using Regression Discontinuity Method
    ," MPRA Paper 11268, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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