IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejpol/v2y2010i3p154-79.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test

Author

Listed:
  • Per Pettersson-Lidbom

Abstract

This paper develops an empirical framework for the problem of soft budgets which is explicitly based on a dynamic commitment problem, i.e., the inability of a supporting organization to commit itself not to extend more resources ex post to a budget-constrained organization than it was prepared to provide ex ante. Swedish local governments are used as a testing ground since the central government distributed a large number of fiscal transfers. The estimated soft-budget effect is economically significant: on average, a local government increases its debt by more than 20 percent by going from a hard to a soft budget constraint. (JEL D82, G32, L32)

Suggested Citation

  • Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2010. "Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 154-179, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:154-79
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.3.154
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.2.3.154
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/2009-0009_data.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cumby, Robert E. & Huizinga, John & Obstfeld, Maurice, 1983. "Two-step two-stage least squares estimation in models with rational expectations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-355, April.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
    3. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    5. Adrian Pagan, 1986. "Two Stage and Related Estimators and Their Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 517-538.
    6. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    7. Simeon Djankov & Peter Murrell, 2002. "Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: A Quantitative Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 739-792, September.
    8. McCallum, Bennett T, 1976. "Rational Expectations and the Natural Rate Hypothesis: Some Consistent Estimates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 43-52, January.
    9. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, and Efficiency in Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529.
    10. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
    11. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
    12. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    13. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 2002. "On the Vote-Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 96(1), pages 27-40, March.
    14. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
    15. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    16. McCallum, Bennett T, 1976. "Rational Expectations and the Estimation of Econometric Models: AnAlternative Procedure," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 17(2), pages 484-490, June.
    17. Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, July.
    18. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    19. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
    20. Eric Maskin & Chenggang Xu, 2001. "Soft budget constraint theories: From centralization to the market," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, March.
    21. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-247, February.
    22. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    23. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2008. "Do Parties Matter for Economic Outcomes? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1037-1056, September.
    24. Jan K. Brueckner, 2003. "Strategic Interaction Among Governments: An Overview of Empirical Studies," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 26(2), pages 175-188, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Chirinko, Robert S. & Wilson, Daniel J., 2017. "Tax competition among U.S. states: Racing to the bottom or riding on a seesaw?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 147-163.
    2. Markus Reischmann, 2016. "Empirische Studien zu Staatsverschuldung und fiskalischen Transferzahlungen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 63, May.
    3. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Dahlberg, Matz, 2003. "An Empirical Approach for Evaluating Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 2003:28, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Jan Fałkowski & Alessandro Olper, 2014. "Political competition and policy choices: the evidence from agricultural protection," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(2), pages 143-158, March.
    5. Svaleryd, Helena & Vlachos, Jonas, 2009. "Political rents in a non-corrupt democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 355-372, April.
    6. Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas & Reischmann, Markus, 2016. "Do politicians reward core supporters? Evidence from a discretionary grant program," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 39-56.
    7. Foremny, Dirk & Riedel, Nadine, 2014. "Business taxes and the electoral cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 48-61.
    8. Westberg, Nina Bruvik, 2015. "Exchanging fertilizer for votes?," Working Paper Series 12-2015, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business.
    9. Kauder, Björn & Björn, Kauder & Niklas, Potrafke & Markus, Reischmann, 2016. "Do politicians gratify core supporters? Evidence from a discretionary grant program," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145509, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Linda Veiga, 2012. "Determinants of the assignment of EU funds to Portuguese municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 215-233, October.
    11. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2009. "Inter-Regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Working Papers 2009/32, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. Alejandro Esteller & Albert Solé, 2005. "Does decentralization improve the efficiency in the allocation of public investment? Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2005/5, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    13. Galletta, Sergio, 2017. "Law enforcement, municipal budgets and spillover effects: Evidence from a quasi-experiment in Italy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 90-105.
    14. Albert Sole-Olle & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2008. "Does partisan alignment affect the electoral reward of intergovernmental transfers?," Working Papers in Economics 206, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    15. McNulty, Mark S., 1985. "Information usage in the formation of price expectations: theory and econometric tests," ISU General Staff Papers 1985010108000013085, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    16. Fatum, Rasmus, 2006. "One monetary policy and 18 central bankers: The European monetary policy as a game of strategic delegation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 659-669, May.
    17. Dilla, Diana, 2017. "Staatsverschuldung und Verschuldungsmentalität [Public Debt and Debt Mentality]," MPRA Paper 79432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Blomquist, Soren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1999. "The political economy of publicly provided private goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 31-54, July.
    19. Carozzi, Felipe & Repetto, Luca, 2019. "Distributive politics inside the city? The political economy of Spain's Plan E," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 85-106.
    20. Larcinese, Valentino & Rizzo, Leonzio & Testa, Cecilia, 2005. "Allocating the US federal budget to the states: the impact of the President," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3611, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • L32 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Enterprises; Public-Private Enterprises

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test (American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2010) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:154-79. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.