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The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey

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  • Marcela Eslava

Abstract

This paper surveys the recent literature on the political economy of fiscal policy, in particular the accumulation of government debt. We examine three possible determinants of fiscal balances: opportunistic behavior by policymakers, heterogeneous fiscal preferences of either voters or politicians, and budget institutions. We focus on the contributions of the last 10 years and emphasize findings related to developing countries. We include a recent body of literature on the fiscal preferences of voters, which, interestingly, seems to suggest that voters do not favor high-spending governments. We also report some original empirical evidence. First, we test different hypotheses from the political economy literature in a simultaneous manner for a large set of both developed and developing countries. We find that less-fragmented governments and a greater ability of voters to monitor fiscal policy are related to lower deficits; the estimated effects are larger than when the two hypotheses are evaluated separately, as the existing literature does. Second, we suggest the role of the courts in the determination of fiscal policy as a promising new avenue of research, and present some suggestive novel evidence on the importance of this channel.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4487.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4487

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  1. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2005. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Cross-Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 11862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ernesto H. Stein & Ernesto Talvi & Alejandro Grisanti, 1998. "Institutional Arrangements and Fiscal Performance: The Latin American Experience," Research Department Publications 4110, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto, 1999. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 253-273, August.
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  5. Kenneth Rogoff, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Crain, W. Mark & Tollison, Robert D., 1993. "Time inconsistency and fiscal policy : Empirical analysis of U.S. States, 1969-89," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 153-159, June.
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  10. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1996. "Political Business Cycles and Fiscal Policies in Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 155-70.
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  16. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  17. Sutter, Matthias, 2003. " The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: An Experimental Study on the Strategic Use of Deficits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 313-32, September.
  18. Brender, Adi, 2003. "The effect of fiscal performance on local government election results in Israel: 1989-1998," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2187-2205, September.
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  22. Alt, James E. & Lassen, David Dreyer, 2006. "Fiscal transparency, political parties, and debt in OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1403-1439, August.
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  25. Dany Jaimovich & Ugo Panizza, 2010. "Public debt around the world: a new data set of central government debt," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 19-24.
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  30. Aaron Tornell & Philip Lane, 1999. "Are Windfalls a Curse? A Non-Representative Agent Model of the Current Account and Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 4839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Allan Drazen & Marcela Eslava, 2005. "Electoral Manipulation via Expenditure Composition: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Carlos Mulas-Granados, 2003. "The Political and Economic Determinants of Budgetary Consolidation in Europe," European Political Economy Review, European Political Economy Infrastructure Consortium, vol. 1(Spring), pages 15-39.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sebastián Nieto Parra & Javier Santiso, 2008. "Wall Street and Elections in Latin American Emerging Economies," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 272, OECD Publishing.
  2. Chowdhury, Anis, 2008. "Growth Oriented Macroeconomic Policies for Small Islands Economies: Lessons from Singapore," Working Paper Series RP2008/47, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Eduardo Lora, 2008. "El Futuro de los Pactos Fiscales en América Latina," IDB Publications 7653, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Asfaha, Samuel, 2007. "National Revenue Funds: Their Efficacy for Fiscal Stability and Intergenerational Equity," MPRA Paper 7656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Massimo Antonini & Kevin Lee & Jacinta Pires, . "Public Sector Debt Dynamics: The Persistence and Sources of Shocks to Debt in Ten EU Countries," Discussion Papers 11/08, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  6. Meloni, Osvaldo, 2012. "Is there an electoral-motivated crime rate cycle? Evidence from Argentina," MPRA Paper 40177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Marcus Melo & Carlos Pereira & Saulo Souza, 2010. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Reform in Brazil: The Rationale for the Suboptimal Equilibrum," Research Department Publications 4655, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  8. Kareem Ismail & Rabah Arezki, 2010. "Boom-Bust Cycle, Asymmetrical Fiscal Response and the Dutch Disease," IMF Working Papers 10/94, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2011. "Political Leaders’ Socioeconomic Background and Fiscal Performance in Germany," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201141, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  10. Jamshed Y. Uppal, 2011. "Government Budget Deficits and the Development of the Bond Market in Pakistan: Issues and Challenges," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 16(Special E), pages 159-198, September.
  11. Marcela Eslava & Oskar Nupia, 2010. "Political Fragmentation and Government Spending: Bringing Ideological Polarization into the Picture," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006713, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

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