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Do Leaders Affect Government Spending Priorities?

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  • Adi Brender
  • Allan Drazen

Abstract

Since a key function of competitive elections is to allow voters to express their policy preferences, one might take it for granted that when leadership changes, policy change follows. Using a dataset we created on the composition of central government expenditures in a panel of 71 democracies over 1972-2003, we test whether changes in leadership induce significant changes in spending composition, as well as looking at the effect of other political and economic variables. We find that the replacement of a leader tends to have no significant effect on expenditure composition in the short-run. This remains true after controlling for a host of political and economic variables. However, over the medium-term leadership changes are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition, mostly in developed countries. We also find that in established democracies, election years are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition while new democracies, which were found by Brender and Drazen (2005) to raise their overall level of expenditures in election years, tend not to have such changes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15368.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15368

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Cited by:
  1. 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).
  2. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Marcela Eslava, 2011. "The Political Economy Of Fiscal Deficits: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 645-673, 09.
  4. Paul J Burke, 2011. "Economic Growth and Political Survival," Departmental Working Papers 2011-06, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  5. Niklas Potrafke, 2006. "Political Effects on the Allocation of Public Expenditures: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 653, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob de Haan, 2013. "Conditional Election and Partisan Cycles in Government Support to the Agricultural Sector: An Empirical Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(4), pages 793-818.
  7. Vojtěch Roženský, 2012. "Mandatory Expenditure and the Flexibility of Fiscal Policy in the Czech Republic," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(1), pages 40-57.

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