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Mandatory Versus Discretionary Spending: The Status Quo Effect

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  • T. Renee Bowen

    (Stanford University)

  • Ying Chen

    (Arizona State University)

  • Hulya Eraslan

    (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 Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum in its series Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers with number 1229.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1229

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Keywords: budget negotiations; mandatory programs; dynamic bargaining; endogenous status quo; public goods;

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References

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  1. Anesi, Vincent, 2010. "Noncooperative foundations of stable sets in voting games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 488-493, November.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
  5. Kalandrakis, Anastassios, 2004. "A three-player dynamic majoritarian bargaining game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 294-322, June.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2009. "Power Fluctuations and Political Economy," NBER Working Papers 15400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alessandro Riboni & Facundo Piguillem, 2011. "Dynamic Bargaining over Redistribution in Legislatures," 2011 Meeting Papers 1320, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Duggan, John & Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2012. "Dynamic legislative policy making," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1653-1688.
  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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