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Public Opinion and the Balanced Budget

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  • Blinder, Alan S
  • Holtz-Eakin, Douglas

Abstract

While most Americans have long favored a balanced federal budget , not all do. This paper uses cross-sectional differences among respondents to two public opinion polls to try to discriminate among competing hypotheses about why Americans want the budget balanced. Logit models are fit to data from two different public opinion polls : a Gallup poll and a CBS/New York Times poll conducted , respectively, in March and April of 1980, a time when the proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution was very much in the news. In each case , a large majority favored a balanced budget requirement. However, they favor it for a smorgasbord of reasons and at unclear price. It appears that political affiliation, ideology and personal circumstances are far less important determinants of the choice than economic rationales.
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Suggested Citation

  • Blinder, Alan S & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1984. "Public Opinion and the Balanced Budget," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 144-149, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:74:y:1984:i:2:p:144-49
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas A. Hibbs, Jr., 1982. "Public Concern about Inflation and Unemployment in the United States: Trends, Correlates, and Political Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 211-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tavares, Jose, 2004. "Does right or left matter? Cabinets, credibility and fiscal adjustments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2447-2468.
      • Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:42-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2014. "Public Preferences for Government Spending Priorities: Survey Evidence from Germany," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201457, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. repec:bpj:pewipo:v:18:y:2017:i:2:p:145-158:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tavares, Jose, 2004. "Does right or left matter? Cabinets, credibility and fiscal adjustments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2447-2468.
    6. Hayo, Bernd & Neumeier, Florian, 2014. "Political leaders' socioeconomic background and fiscal performance in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 184-205.
    7. Niepelt, Dirk, 2007. "Starving the beast? Intra-generational conflict and balanced budget rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 145-159, January.
    8. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "Political Leaders' Socioeconomic Background and Public Budget Deficits: Evidence from OECD Countries," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 55-78, March.
    9. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2017. "Public Attitudes toward Fiscal Consolidation: Evidence from a Representative German Population Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 42-69, February.
    10. Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Tax Smoothing versus Tax Shifting," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), pages 27-51, January.
    11. Walstad, William B. & Rebeck, Ken, 2002. "Assessing the economic knowledge and economic opinions of adults," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 921-935.
    12. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "The debt brake in the eyes of the German population," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 139-159, January.
    13. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:167:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Willem Thorbecke, 1992. "Social Security Investment Policy And Capital Formation," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 10(3), pages 26-38, July.

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