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Auditors and fiscal policy: Empirical evidence on a little big institution

  • Schelker, Mark
  • Eichenberger, Reiner

Various political institutions designed to control the government have been analyzed in the academic literature. However, an important institution has been neglected so far: independent auditing institutions with an extended mandate to audit the budget draft and individual policy proposals. We argue that such auditors improve transparency and provide essential information on the impact of policy proposals on common pool resources, which leads to less wasteful spending. We empirically analyze the impact of such auditors on fiscal policy at the Swiss local level. Auditors who can evaluate and criticize policy proposals ex ante to policy decisions, significantly reduce the general tax burden and public expenditures. The results are similar for different datasets and robust to various changes in the econometric specification.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 357-380

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:357-380
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