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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Adrian Pagan, 1986. "Two Stage and Related Estimators and Their Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 517-538.
    5. 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.
    6. McCallum, Bennett T, 1976. "Rational Expectations and the Natural Rate Hypothesis: Some Consistent Estimates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(1), pages 43-52, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
    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. 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.
    14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:01:p:27-40_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. 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.
    16. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, July.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. 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)

    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 or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test (AEJ:EP 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: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://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 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.

    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.