IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v166y2018icp115-144.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Can fiscal rules constrain the size of government? An analysis of the “crown jewel” of tax and expenditure limitations

Author

Listed:
  • Eliason, Paul
  • Lutz, Byron

Abstract

Fiscal rules attempt to alter budget outcomes by constraining policy makers. They have been one of the primary responses to the recent string of fiscal crises around the globe. We ask if these rules succeed in altering fiscal outcomes by examining what is arguably the most stringent set of fiscal rules in the U.S.—Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). As TABOR attempts to constrain both taxes and expenditures, we develop a novel approach of estimating treatment effects for multiple outcomes simultaneously using the synthetic control methodology of Abadie et al. (2010). Although there will always be a degree of uncertainty over external validity when a policy is enacted in only a single state, our results provide no evidence that TABOR affected the level of taxes or spending in Colorado and are precise enough to rule out large negative effects. Thus, no support is found for the contention that fiscal rules alter budget outcomes. Instead, TABOR appears to have been partly evaded by policy makers and voters despite its stringency and partly nothing more than a ratification of the state's preference over the size of its public sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Eliason, Paul & Lutz, Byron, 2018. "Can fiscal rules constrain the size of government? An analysis of the “crown jewel” of tax and expenditure limitations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 115-144.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:115-144
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.07.008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272718301336
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.07.008?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the political principal-agent problem from voting on public finance for concert halls," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 215-238, September.
    2. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    3. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
    4. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Taber, 2011. "Inference with "Difference in Differences" with a Small Number of Policy Changes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 113-125, February.
    5. Poterba, James M & Rueben, Kim S, 1995. "The Effect of Property-Tax Limits on Wages and Employment in the Local Public Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 384-389, May.
    6. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg & Jan Stuhler, 2017. "Labor Supply Shocks, Native Wages, and the Adjustment of Local Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 435-483.
    7. Sarah Bohn & Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael, 2014. "Did the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act Reduce the State's Unauthorized Immigrant Population?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 258-269, May.
    8. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
    9. Ando, Michihito, 2015. "Dreams of urbanization: Quantitative case studies on the local impacts of nuclear power facilities using the synthetic control method," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 68-85.
    10. Giovanni Peri & Vasil Yasenov, 2015. "The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Applying the Synthetic Control Method to the Mariel Boatlift," NBER Working Papers 21801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Eduardo Cavallo & Sebastian Galiani & Ilan Noy & Juan Pantano, 2013. "Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Economic Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1549-1561, December.
    12. Enrico Moretti, 2014. "Local Economic Development, Agglomeration Economies, and the Big Push: 100 Years of Evidence from the Tennessee Valley Authority," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 275-331.
    13. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2016. "Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1593-1636.
    14. Leah Brooks & Yosh Halberstam & Justin Phillips, 2016. "Spending Within Limits: Evidence From Municipal Fiscal Restraints," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 69(2), pages 315-352, June.
    15. Cutler, David M. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitation in Massachusetts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 313-334, March.
    16. Asatryan, Zareh & Castellón, César & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Balanced budget rules and fiscal outcomes: Evidence from historical constitutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 105-119.
    17. Baicker, Katherine, 2005. "The spillover effects of state spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 529-544, February.
    18. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Kermani, Amir & Kwak, James & Mitton, Todd, 2016. "The value of connections in turbulent times: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 368-391.
    19. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2017. "The State of Applied Econometrics: Causality and Policy Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 3-32, Spring.
    20. Skidmore, Mark, 1999. "Tax and Expenditure Limitations and the Fiscal Relationships between State and Local Governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 77-102, April.
    21. Peter Hinrichs, 2012. "The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 712-722, August.
    22. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
    23. Stephen B. Billings & Deborah A. Carroll, 2012. "“Debrucing” the Link between Tax and Expenditure Limits and Special District Governments," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 273-303, June.
    24. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
    25. Pengju Zhang, 2018. "The unintended impact of tax and expenditure limitations on the use of special districts: the politics of circumvention," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 21-50, February.
    26. Anderson, Nathan B., 2006. "Property Tax Limitations: An Interpretative Review," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(3), pages 685-694, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Blum & Klaus Gründler & Raphael de Britto Schiller & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Die Schuldenbremse in der Diskussion – Teilnehmer des Ökonomenpanels mehrheitlich für Beibehaltung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 72(22), pages 27-33, November.
    2. Niklas Potrafke & Kaspar Wuthrich, 2020. "Green governments," Papers 2012.09906, arXiv.org, revised Sep 2021.
    3. Asatryan, Zareh & Castellón, César & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Balanced budget rules and fiscal outcomes: Evidence from historical constitutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 105-119.
    4. Alpino, Matteo & Asatryan, Zareh & Blesse, Sebastian & Wehrhöfer, Nils, 2020. "Austerity and distributional policy," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-028, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Absher, Samuel & Grier, Kevin & Grier, Robin, 2020. "The economic consequences of durable left-populist regimes in Latin America," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 787-817.
    6. Bram Gootjes & Jakob Haan & Richard Jong-A-Pin, 2021. "Do fiscal rules constrain political budget cycles?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 188(1), pages 1-30, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bruno Ferman & Cristine Pinto & Vitor Possebom, 2020. "Cherry Picking with Synthetic Controls," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 39(2), pages 510-532, March.
    2. Giulio Grossi & Patrizia Lattarulo & Marco Mariani & Alessandra Mattei & Ozge Oner, 2020. "Synthetic Control Group Methods in the Presence of Interference: The Direct and Spillover Effects of Light Rail on Neighborhood Retail Activity," Papers 2004.05027, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2021.
    3. Ferman, Bruno & Pinto, Cristine, 2016. "Revisiting the Synthetic Control Estimator," MPRA Paper 73982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Kuosmanen, Timo & Zhou, Xun & Eskelinen, Juha & Malo, Pekka, 2021. "Design Flaw of the Synthetic Control Method," MPRA Paper 106328, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Kaul, Ashok & Klößner, Stefan & Pfeifer, Gregor & Schieler, Manuel, 2015. "Synthetic Control Methods: Never Use All Pre-Intervention Outcomes Together With Covariates," MPRA Paper 83790, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Kleis, Mischa & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel, 2016. "The long-run effect of fiscal consolidation on economic growth: Evidence from quantitative case studies," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-047, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Becker, Martin & Klößner, Stefan, 2018. "Fast and reliable computation of generalized synthetic controls," Econometrics and Statistics, Elsevier, vol. 5(C), pages 1-19.
    8. Irene Botosaru & Bruno Ferman, 2019. "On the role of covariates in the synthetic control method," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 22(2), pages 117-130.
    9. Aydemir, Abdurrahman B. & Kırdar, Murat G., 2017. "Quasi-experimental impact estimates of immigrant labor supply shocks: The role of treatment and comparison group matching and relative skill composition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 282-315.
    10. Grier, Kevin & Maynard, Norman, 2016. "The economic consequences of Hugo Chavez: A synthetic control analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 1-21.
    11. Carvalho, Carlos & Masini, Ricardo & Medeiros, Marcelo C., 2018. "ArCo: An artificial counterfactual approach for high-dimensional panel time-series data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 207(2), pages 352-380.
    12. Kim, Man-Keun & Kim, Taehoo, 2016. "Estimating impact of regional greenhouse gas initiative on coal to gas switching using synthetic control methods," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 328-335.
    13. Reimer, Matthew N. & Haynie, Alan C., 2018. "Mechanisms matter for evaluating the economic impacts of marine reserves," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 427-446.
    14. Maïmouna Diakite & Jean-François Brun & Souleymane Diarra & Nasser Ary Tanimoune, 2017. "The effects of tax coordination on the tax revenue mobilization in West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)," Working Papers halshs-01535104, HAL.
    15. Cruz A. Echevarría & Javier García-Enríquez, 0. "The economic cost of the Arab Spring: the case of the Egyptian revolution," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-25.
    16. Castillo, Victoria & Figal Garone, Lucas & Maffioli, Alessandro & Salazar, Lina, 2017. "The causal effects of regional industrial policies on employment: A synthetic control approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 25-41.
    17. Jones, Benjamin A., 2018. "Spillover health effects of energy efficiency investments: Quasi-experimental evidence from the Los Angeles LED streetlight program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 283-299.
    18. Victor Chernozhukov & Kaspar Wuthrich & Yinchu Zhu, 2017. "An Exact and Robust Conformal Inference Method for Counterfactual and Synthetic Controls," Papers 1712.09089, arXiv.org, revised May 2021.
    19. Yi‐Ting Chen, 2020. "A distributional synthetic control method for policy evaluation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 35(5), pages 505-525, August.
    20. Stefan Seifert & Marica Valente, 2018. "An Offer that you Can't Refuse? Agrimafias and Migrant Labor on Vineyards in Southern Italy," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1735, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:115-144. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.