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Term limits and political budget cycles at the local level: evidence from a young democracy

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  • Klein, Fabio Alvim
  • Sakurai, Sergio Naruhiko

Abstract

The existing empirical literature on political budget cycles (PBCs) has generally ignored the effects of term limitations on fiscal opportunism. In this paper, we explore the different electoral incentives faced by first term mayors who are eligible for reelection and second term mayors who are legally banned to stand for another term in office. Our results point to significant fiscal differences between both types of mayors in Brazil. During elections, first term mayors decrease revenues from own local taxation and change their budget composition by moving from current expenditures towards capital related ones, while budget balances and total expenditures remain unchanged. These findings are consistent with recently developed signalling models of PBC and with the conditional political budget cycles literature, where incumbents aiming at maximizing their reelection chances subject to institutional restrictions on fiscal deficits change the composition of the budget in electoral years by providing more visible and targeted expenditures.

Suggested Citation

  • Klein, Fabio Alvim & Sakurai, Sergio Naruhiko, 2015. "Term limits and political budget cycles at the local level: evidence from a young democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 21-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:37:y:2015:i:c:p:21-36
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2014.10.008
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