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The Political Color Of Fiscal Responsibility

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Müller
  • Kjetil Storesletten
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

Abstract

We propose a dynamic general equilibrium model that yields testable implications about the fiscal policy run by governments of different political color. Successive generations of voters choose taxation, expenditure, and government debt through repeated elections. Voters are heterogeneous by age and by the intensity of their preferences for public good provision. The political equilibrium switches stochastically between left- (pro-public goods) and right-leaning (pro-private consumption) governments. A shift to the left (right) is associated with a fall (increase) in government debt, an increase (fall) in taxation, and an increase (fall) in government expenditures. However, left-leaning governments engage in more debt accumulation during recessions. These predictions are shown to be consistent with the time-series evidence for the United States in the postwar period, and also with the evidence for a panel of OECD countries.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Müller & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "The Political Color Of Fiscal Responsibility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 252-302, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:1:p:252-302
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jeea.2016.14.issue-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, March.
    2. Rüdiger Bachmann & Jinhui H. Bai, 2013. "Public consumption over the business cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(3), pages 417-451, November.
    3. Marina Azzimonti, 2011. "Barriers to Investment in Polarized Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2182-2204, August.
    4. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    5. 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.
    6. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-732, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Fatás & Atish R. Ghosh & Ugo Panizza & Andrea F Presbitero, 2019. "The Motives to Borrow," IMF Working Papers 19/101, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Potrafke, Niklas, 2017. "Partisan politics: The empirical evidence from OECD panel studies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 712-750.
    3. Corsetti, G. & Erce, A. & Uy, T., 2017. "Official Sector Lending Strategies During the Euro Area Crisis," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1730, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    4. Carmine Gabriele & Aitor Erce & Marialena Athanasopoulou & Juan Rojas, 2017. "Debt Stocks Meet Gross Financing Needs: A Flow Perspective into Sustainability," Working Papers 24, European Stability Mechanism.
    5. Tetsuo Ono & Yuki Uchida, 2018. "Political Economy of Taxation, Debt Ceilings, and Growth," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 18-22, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    6. repec:eee:macchp:v2-2599 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Samuele Murtinu & Giulio Piccirilli & Agnese Sacchi, 2016. "Fiscal Policy, Government Polarization, and the Economic Literacy of Voters," Working papers 50, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    8. repec:eee:poleco:v:57:y:2019:i:c:p:70-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:39-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:37-53 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Scholl, Almuth, 2017. "The dynamics of sovereign default risk and political turnover," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 37-53.
    12. Timm M. Prein & Almuth Scholl, 2018. "The Impact of Bailouts on Political Turnover and Sovereign Default Risk," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2018-04, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    13. Arai, Real & Naito, Katsuyuki & Ono, Tetsuo, 2018. "Intergenerational policies, public debt, and economic growth: A politico-economic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 39-52.
    14. Cui, Wei, 2017. "Macroeconomic effects of delayed capital liquidation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86156, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. G. Bellettini & P. Roberti, 2016. "Politicians' coherence and government debt," Working Papers wp1087, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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