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The economic effects of constitutional budget institutions

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  • Blume, Lorenz
  • Voigt, Stefan

Abstract

There is a well-established literature analyzing the effects of fiscal institutions on fiscal policy variables such as budget deficits or accumulated government debt. We combine this literature with the emerging field of positive constitutional economics, which deals with the economic effects of constitutional rules. The paper addresses three questions: (1) Do budget provisions that are explicitly spelled out in a country's constitution have any significant effect on fiscal policy? (2) Does the transparency, or lack thereof, of the budget process have any significant effect on fiscal policy? and (3) Do these two variables have an impact on other variables such as government effectiveness and productivity? We find that constitutionally entrenched spending limits are correlated with lower total government expenditure and that the transparency of a nation's budget is correlated with higher government effectiveness as well as lower corruption. If anything, the deficit limits entrenched in the Maastricht Treaty are correlated with higher, rather than lower, overall government expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "The economic effects of constitutional budget institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 236-251.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:29:y:2013:i:c:p:236-251 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2012.10.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Sacchi, Agnese & Salotti, Simone, 2015. "The impact of national fiscal rules on the stabilisation function of fiscal policy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Jochimsen, Beate & Thomasius, Sebastian, 2014. "The perfect finance minister: Whom to appoint as finance minister to balance the budget," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 390-408.
    3. Chatagny, Florian, 2015. "Incentive effects of fiscal rules on the finance minister's behavior: Evidence from revenue projections in Swiss Cantons," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 184-200.
    4. Jan Fałkowski & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015. "Przyczyny ustanawiania i stabilność konstytucji państwa - perspektywa ekonomiczna," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 79-105.
    5. Francesco Pasimeni & Paolo Pasimeni, 2016. "An Institutional Analysis of the Europe 2020 Strategy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 1021-1038, July.
    6. Iara, Anna & Wolff, Guntram B., 2014. "Rules and risk in the Euro area," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 222-236.
    7. Lunder, Trond Erik, 2016. "Between centralized and decentralized welfare policy: Have national guidelines constrained the influence of local preferences?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-13.
    8. Hauck, Achim & Vollmer, Uwe, 2013. "Emergency liquidity provision to public banks: Rules versus discretion," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 193-204.
    9. Peat, Maurice & Svec, Jiri & Wang, Jue, 2015. "The effects of fiscal opacity on sovereign credit spreads," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 34-45.
    10. Martin Ardanaz & Carlos Scartascini, 2014. "The economic effects of constitutions: do budget institutions make forms of government more alike?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, pages 301-329.
    11. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld, 2016. "Effects of Fiscal Rules - 85 Years' Experience in Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 6063, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy; Deficit; Constitutional debt rules; Transparency of budget; Positive constitutional economics;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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