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The Political Economy of Fiscal Reform in Latin America: The Case of Argentina

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  • Alejandro Bonvecchi
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the political economy of fiscal reform activism in Argentina since the late 1980s. Between 1988 and 2008, tax legislation was changed 83 times, fiscal federal rules 14 times, and budgetary institutions sixteen times. Tax and budgetary reforms moved from centralizing revenue sources and spending authority in the federal government to mild decentralization lately. Fiscal federal rules combined centralization of revenues and management in the federal government with short-term compensations for the provinces. This paper contends that reform activism can be explained by the recurrence of economic and policy shocks while reform patterns may be accounted for as consequences of the decreasing political integration of national parties in a polity whose decisionmaking rules encourage the formation of oversized coalitions. The decrease in political integration weakened the national party leaderships’ ability to coordinate intergovernmental bargaining, and strengthened the local bosses and factions needed to form oversized coalitions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4666.

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    Date of creation: May 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4666

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    Keywords: Public finance; Budget; Taxes; Federalism; Intergovernmental relations;

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    1. Mariano Tommasi, 2006. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
    2. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
    3. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Mariano Tommasi & Sebastian Saiegh & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2001. "Fiscal Federalism in Argentina: Policies, Politics, and Institutional Reform," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
    5. Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Federalism in Argentina and the Reforms of the 1990s," Working Papers 48, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised May 2002.
    6. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller, 2000. "The Institutional Foundations of Public Policy: A Transactions Approach with Application to Argentina," Working Papers 29, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised May 2000.
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