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Inefficiency in Legislative Policymaking: A Dynamic Analysis

  • Marco Battaglini
  • Stephen Coate

This paper develops an infinite horizon model of public spending and taxation in which policy decisions are determined by legislative bargaining. The policy space incorporates both productive and distributive public spending and distortionary taxation. The productive spending is investing in a public good that benefits all citizens (e.g., national defense) and the distributive spending is district-specific transfers (e.g., pork-barrel spending). Investment in the public good creates a dynamic linkage across policymaking periods. The analysis explores the dynamics of legislative policy choices, focusing on the efficiency of the steady-state level of taxation and allocation of spending. (JEL D72, E62, H20, H50)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 118-149

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:1:p:118-149
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.1.118
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  1. Stephen Coate & Stephen Morris, . "Policy Persistence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 8a66677895e9fcb3f6d813c0c, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Inefficiency in Legislative Policy-Making: A Dynamic Analysis," NBER Working Papers 11495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  5. Leblanc, William & Snyder, James Jr. & Tripathi, Micky, 2000. "Majority-rule bargaining and the under provision of public investment goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 21-47, January.
  6. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  7. Marina Azzimonti Renzo, 2004. "On the dynamic inefficiency of governments," 2004 Meeting Papers 228, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  9. Hassler, John & Mora, Jose & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "The Survival of the Welfare State," Seminar Papers 704, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  10. Armo Gomes & Philippe Jehiel, 2001. "Dynamic Processes of Social and Economic Interactions: On the Persistence of Inefficiencies," Penn CARESS Working Papers 76ff153ae29996d16c454e473, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "The dynamics of government," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1331-1358, October.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  14. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Kalandrakis, Anastassios, 2004. "A three-player dynamic majoritarian bargaining game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 294-322, June.
  16. Norman, Peter, 2002. "Legislative Bargaining and Coalition Formation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 322-353, February.
  17. Eraslan, Hulya, 2002. "Uniqueness of Stationary Equilibrium Payoffs in the Baron-Ferejohn Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 11-30, March.
  18. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  19. Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "On the size of U.S. government: political economy in the neoclassical growth model," Staff Report 234, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2007. "Democratic public good provision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 127-151, March.
  21. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Duggan, John, 1999. "A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice," Working Papers 1053, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  22. Eraslan, H. & Merlo, A., 2000. "Majority Rule in a Stochastic Model of Bargaining," Working Papers 00-05, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  23. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  24. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "Inefficient Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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