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Separation of powers and political budget cycles

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  • Alejandro Saporiti

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  • Jorge Streb

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Abstract

From a theoretical viewpoint, political budget cycles (PBC) arise in equilibrium when rational voters are imperfectly informed about the incumbent's competency and the incumbent enjoys discretionary power over the budget. This paper focuses on the second condition, examining how executive discretion is affected by the budgetary process under separation of powers. We specifically model PBC in the composition of government spending. The main result is that effective checks and balances in the budgetary process curb PBC. The institutional features of the executive-legislature bargaining game, namely, the actual agenda-setting authority, the status quo location and the degree of legislative oversight and control of the implementation of the budgetary law, play critical roles for the existence and the size of PBC. These results are consistent with recent empirical findings, which show that PBC are more pronounced in developing countries, where there are also less effective checks and balances.
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Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Saporiti & Jorge Streb, 2008. "Separation of powers and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 329-345, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:137:y:2008:i:1:p:329-345
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-008-9331-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hanusch, Marek & Keefer, Philip, 2014. "Younger parties, bigger spenders? Party age and political budget cycles," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-18.
    2. Jorge Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2013. "Making rules credible: divided government and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 703-722, September.
    3. Gernot Sieg & Irem Batool, 2012. "Pakistan, Politics and Political Business Cycles," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 51(2), pages 153-166.
    4. Marek Hanusch & Daniel Magleby, 2014. "Popularity, polarization, and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 457-467, June.
    5. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Gustavo Torrens, 2009. "Checks and Balances on Political Budget Cycles: Cross-Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 426-447, August.
    6. Cameron Shelton, 2014. "Legislative budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 251-275, April.
    7. Jorge M. Streb, 2011. "Estabilización económica e incentivos políticos," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 461, Universidad del CEMA.
    8. Marek Hanusch, 2012. "Coalition incentives for political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 121-136, April.
    9. Bove, Vincenzo & Efthyvoulou, Georgios & Navas, Antonio, 2017. "Political cycles in public expenditure: butter vs guns," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 582-604.
    10. Margarita Katsimi & Vassilis Sarantides, 2012. "Do elections affect the composition of fiscal policy in developed, established democracies?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 325-362, April.
    11. Gupta, Sanjeev & Liu, Estelle X. & Mulas-Granados, Carlos, 2016. "Now or later? The political economy of public investment in democracies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 101-114.
    12. Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2013. "Ciclos electorales en política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 514, Universidad del CEMA.
    13. James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen, 2005. "The Political Budget Cycle is Where You Can't See It: Transparency and Fiscal Manipulation," EPRU Working Paper Series 05-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    14. Niklas Potrafke, 2006. "Political Effects on the Allocation of Public Expenditures: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 653, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Margarita Katsimi & Vassilis Sarantides, 2010. "Do Elections Affect the Composition of Fiscal Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2908, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:228-237 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political budget cycles; Concentration of powers; Separation of powers; Budget process; Checks and balances; Time consistency; D72; D78; H60;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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