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The Political Economy of Fiscal Supervision and Budget Deficits: Evidence from Germany

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  • Felix Rösel

Abstract

In many federal countries, local governments run large deficits, even when fiscal supervision by state authorities is tight. I investigate to which extent party alignment of governments and fiscal supervisors influences budget deficits. The dataset includes 427 German local governments for the period 2000-2004. I exploit a period after a far-reaching institutional reform that entirely re-distributed political powers on both the government level and the fiscal supervisor level. Results do not show that party alignments of governments and supervisors (co-partisanship) drive short-term deficits. Instead, I find that the ideology of partisan governments and supervisors matters: left-wing local governments run higher deficits than their right-wing counterparts; left-wing supervisors tolerate higher deficits than right-wing supervisors. These findings imply that political independence for fiscal supervisors is recommended.
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  • Felix Rösel, 2017. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Supervision and Budget Deficits: Evidence from Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 641-666, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:38:y:2017:i::p:641-666
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    2. Roesel, Felix, 2017. "Do mergers of large local governments reduce expenditures? – Evidence from Germany using the synthetic control method," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 22-36.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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