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Budget Deficits and Coalition Governments

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  • Balassone, Fabrizio
  • Giordano, Raffaela

Abstract

This paper shows that compromise between different ideological motivations within multiparty governments may result in a bias toward running budget deficits even if all parties in the coalition prefer balanced budgets. The deficit bias increases with the degree of "polarization" of the ideological motivations and generally decreases with the degree of concentration of power within the government. Although the analysis is conducted assuming a proportional representation electoral system, the results will also apply to majoritarian systems if the winning party comprises ideologically different constituencies. The relationship between budget deficits and multiparty governments is investigated using data from a sample of eight European Union countries for the period 1971-1990. Analysis on pooled data is partly in line with the theory. Time series within country analysis is less favorable: we find clear support to the theory only in the case of Italy. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Balassone, Fabrizio & Giordano, Raffaela, 2001. "Budget Deficits and Coalition Governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(3-4), pages 327-349, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:106:y:2001:i:3-4:p:327-49
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Barreira & Rui Nuno Baleiras, "undated". "Cycles On Public Expenditure Composition Within the European Union," Regional and Urban Modeling 283600004, EcoMod.
    2. Christoph Gwosć & Gregor Van Der Beek, 2003. "Principles for a European Union's Public Debt," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 23-37, March.
    3. Hideaki Tanaka, 2005. "Fiscal Rules and Targets and Public Expenditure Management - Enthusiasm in the 1990s and its Aftermath," Finance Working Papers 22705, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    4. Marek Hanusch, 2012. "Coalition incentives for political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 121-136, April.
    5. Marco Buti & Sylvester Eijffinger & Daniele Franco, 2003. "Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 180, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    6. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Weakness and Local Public Debt Development in Flemish Municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(4), pages 395-422, August.
    7. Padovano, Fabio & Venturi, Larissa, 2001. "Wars of Attrition in Italian Government Coalitions and Fiscal Performance: 1948-1994," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(1-2), pages 15-54, October.
    8. K. Terai, 2003. "Electoral alliance and implemented redistribution: an interpretation on non-competitive politics of Japan," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(4), pages 235-238.
    9. Björn Kauder & Benjamin Larin & Niklas Potrafke, 2014. "Was bringt uns die große Koalition? Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik," ifo Working Paper Series 172, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. Ringa Raudla, 2010. "Governing budgetary commons: what can we learn from Elinor Ostrom?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 201-221, December.
    11. Antoni Castells & Alejandro Esteller-Moré & Maite Vilalta, 2003. "Tax Capacity Disparities and Fiscal Equalization: The Case of Spanish Local Governments," Public Economics 0310006, EconWPA.
    12. Pitsoulis, Athanassios & Siebel, Jens Peter, 2009. "Zur politischen Ökonomie von Defiziten und Kapitalsteuerwettbewerb," Discourses in Social Market Economy 2009-13, OrdnungsPolitisches Portal (OPO).
    13. Hideaki Tanaka, 2005. "Fiscal Rules and Targets and Public Expenditure Management: Enthusiasm in the 1990's and its Aftermath," Asia Pacific Economic Papers 346, Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    14. Jan Zápal, 2007. "Cyclical Bias in Government Spending: Evidence from New EU Member Countries," Working Papers IES 2007/15, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised May 2007.
    15. Kauder Björn & Larin Benjamin & Potrafke Niklas, 2014. "Was bringt uns die große Koalition?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 88-101, February.
    16. Martin Gregor, 2005. "Committed to Deficit: The Reverse Side of Fiscal Governance," Working Papers IES 88, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised 2005.

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