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The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: An Experimental Study on the Strategic Use of Deficits

  • Sutter, Matthias

Field data on the strategic use of deficits to limit the budgetary scope of future governments are inconclusive about the effects of political polarization or a government's re-election probability on fiscal policy. Therefore, we designed a controlled experiment to examine the strategic use of deficits. Using a within-subjects design, we find that deficits rise with a higher degree of polarization and a lower reelection probability. However, in a between-subjects design neither polarization nor reelection probabilities have a systematic effect. We discuss the implications of our experimental results for empirical tests of the strategic use of deficits with field data. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 116 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (September)
Pages: 313-32

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:116:y:2003:i:3-4:p:313-32
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  1. Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Gardner, Roy & von Hagen, Jurgen & Keser, Claudia, 2007. "Budget processes: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 279-295, May.
  2. Edin, P-A. & Ohlsson, H., 1990. "Political Determinants Of Budget Deficits: Coalition Effects Versus Minority Effects," Papers 1990k, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," NBER Working Papers 2759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Volkerink, Bjorn & De Haan, Jakob, 2001. " Fragmented Government Effects on Fiscal Policy: New Evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 109(3-4), pages 221-42, December.
  7. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 1995. "The Disadvantage of Tying Their Hands: On the Political Economy of Policy Commitments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(433), pages 1381-1402, November.
  8. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Huber, Gerald & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2003. " Government Strength, Power Dispersion in Governments and Budget Deficits in OECD-Countries: A Voting Power Approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 333-50, September.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 1-31, March.
  12. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Spolaore, Enrico, 1994. "How cynical can an incumbent be? Strategic policy in a model of government spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 121-140, September.
  13. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative Would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-45, May.
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