IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Does Direct Democracy Reduce Public Debt? Evidence from Swiss Municipalities

  • Feld, Lars P
  • Kirchgassner, Gebhard

Although some countries have managed to obtain balanced budgets or even budget surpluses in recent times, public debts of many OECD countries remain at high levels. Since structural reforms of public spending have only infrequently taken place in most countries, fiscal pressure will increase again in the future due to society's ageing and the accompanying increases in social transfer spending. Constitutional restrictions on debt levels and legal rules of the budgetary process, such as a strong role of the minister of finance, are supposed to be helping against the debt bias inherent in political decision-making procedures. In addition to such top down budgetary procedures, this paper investigates the impact of referendum approval of budget deficits by the voters on the level of public debt in a cross section of the 134 largest Swiss municipalities in 1990. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://journals.kluweronline.com/issn/0048-5829/contents
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 109 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (December)
Pages: 347-70

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:109:y:2001:i:3-4:p:347-70
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/public+finance/journal/11127/PS2

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Inman, Robert P & Fitts, Michael A, 1990. "Political Institutions and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Historical Record," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 79-132.
  2. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-38.
  3. Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," CEPR Discussion Papers 269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. John G. Matsusaka, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-571.
  5. von Hagen, Jurgen & Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Federalism, Fiscal Restraints, and European Monetary Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 134-38, May.
  6. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
  8. International Monetary Fund, 1996. "Budget Processes and Commitment to Fiscal Discipline," IMF Working Papers 96/78, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  10. von Hagen,Juergen, . "A note on the empirical effectiveness of formal fiscal restraints," Discussion Paper Serie B 155, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Balanced Budget Rules and Fiscal Policy: Evidence From the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 329-36, September.
  12. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  13. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Capital budgets, borrowing rules, and state capital spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 165-187, February.
  14. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  15. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Maximising Happiness?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(2), pages 145-167, 05.
  16. Edin, P-A. & Ohlsson, H., 1990. "Political Determinants Of Budget Deficits: Coalition Effects Versus Minority Effects," Papers 1990k, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  17. Inman, Robert P, 1982. "The Economic Case for Limits to Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 176-83, May.
  18. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1979. "Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-587.
  19. Crain, W. Mark & Tollison, Robert D., 1993. "Time inconsistency and fiscal policy : Empirical analysis of U.S. States, 1969-89," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 153-159, June.
  20. Buchanan, James M., 1986. "The Constitution of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1986-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  21. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Credibility and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 542-550, March.
  22. Rosenberg, Jacob, 1992. "Rationality and the Political Business Cycle: The Case of Local Government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 71-81, January.
  23. de Haan, Jakob & Sturm, Jan-Egbert, 1994. "Political and Institutional Determinants of Fiscal Policy in the European Community," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 80(1-2), pages 157-72, July.
  24. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
  25. Tabellini, Guido & La Via, Vincenzo, 1989. "Money, Deficit and Public Debt in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 15-25, February.
  26. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  27. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, September.
  28. Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 335-57, April.
  29. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
  30. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  31. Pommerehne, Werner W & Weck-Hannemann, Hannelore, 1996. "Tax Rates, Tax Administration and Income Tax Evasion in Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 161-70, July.
  32. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Introduction to "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance"," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Pommerehne, Werner W., 1978. "Institutional approaches to public expenditure : Empirical evidence from Swiss municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 255-280, April.
  34. Anthony M. Marino & John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Decision Processes, Agency Problems, and Information: An Economic Analysis of Capital Budgeting Procedures," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 301-325.
  35. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2000. "Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: a report on the Swiss experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, June.
  36. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgassner, 1999. "Public Debt and Budgetary Procedures: Top Down or Bottom Up? Some Evidence from Swiss Municipalities," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 151-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 1-31, March.
  38. de Haan, Jakob & Sturm, Jan-Egbert & Beekhuis, Geert, 1999. "The Weak Government Thesis: Some New Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(3-4), pages 163-76, December.
  39. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-31, April.
  40. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
  41. Sam Peltzman, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-361.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:109:y:2001:i:3-4:p:347-70. 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: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Rebekah McClure)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.