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