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Government Fragmentation And Budgetary Policy In "Good" And "Bad" Times In Flemish Municipalities

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  • John Ashworth
  • Bruno Heyndels

Abstract

Using a panel of budgetary data over the period 1989-1996, we analyse how political fragmentation of Flemish local governments affects their reactions in the context of a major reform of the grant system. This reform reallocated grants among municipalities and thus unavoidably created "winners" and "losers". Thus, it is possible to distinguish between political reactions in good and bad times. The presence of a balanced budget requirement implies that in bad times municipalities have to react whereas in good times the decision to react is endogenous to the government. The results are in line with the hypotheses, if not the findings, of Kontopoulos and Perotti (1999) in that we find that fragmentation is important both in good and in bad times. Coalition size - the number of political parties - plays a crucial role when the budgetary shock is endogenous (in "good times" when grants increase). In this case, we find that more-party governments spend more of the additional funds. On the other hand, cabinet size - the number of spending ministers (aldermen) - is the relevant dimension of fragmentation when the reaction is exogenous (in "bad times"). When grants are cut back, expenditures are cut back more in municipalities with fewer ministers. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

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  • John Ashworth & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Fragmentation And Budgetary Policy In "Good" And "Bad" Times In Flemish Municipalities," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 245-263, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:17:y:2005:i::p:245-263
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2013. "Coalition governments, cabinet size, and the common pool problem: Evidence from the German states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 356-376.
    2. Stijn Goeminne & Benny Geys & Carine Smolders, 2008. "Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(3), pages 297-315, June.
    3. Wehner, Joachim, 2010. "Cabinet structure and fiscal policy outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28648, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Phuong Nguyen-Hoang & Yilin Hou, 2014. "Local Fiscal Responses to Procyclical Changes in State Aid," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(4), pages 587-608.
    5. Benoît LE MAUX & Kristýna DOSTÁLOVÁ & Antti MOISIO, 2017. "Do political parties matter? Endogenous fragmentation, partisanship, and local public expenditures in Finland," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2017-02-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    6. Kauder Björn & Larin Benjamin & Potrafke Niklas, 2014. "Was bringt uns die große Koalition?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 88-101, February.
    7. Benoît Le Maux & Yvon Rocaboy, 2016. "Competition in fragmentation among political coalitions: theory and evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 67-94, April.
    8. Björn Kauder & Benjamin Larin & Niklas Potrafke, 2014. "Was bringt uns die große Koalition? Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik," ifo Working Paper Series 172, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    9. Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2015. "Political determinants of municipal accounts: Quasi-experimental evidence from Portugal," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 238, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    10. Maciej Turala & Justyna Danielewicz, 2013. "Political Fragmentation And External Sources Of Funding In Local Governments. Do Power Struggles Matter?," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 69-80, JUNE.

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