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Elections and the strategic use of budget deficits

  • Roland Hodler


We present a model in which a conservative incumbent with preferences for low public spending can strategically run a budget deficit to prevent the left-wing opposition candidate from choosing high public spending if elected, and possibly also to ensure his own reelection. We find that the incumbent never manipulates the opposition candidate’s public spending if he can ensure his reelection; and that a conservative incumbent who runs a budget deficit to ensure his reelection may somewhat paradoxically choose high public spending before the election.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 148 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 149-161

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:148:y:2011:i:1:p:149-161
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  1. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2006. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 321307000000000026,
  2. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2007. "Inefficient Policies and Incumbency Advantage," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 996, The University of Melbourne.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Cukierman, Alex, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 829-50, November.
  4. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  9. Ricardo J. Caballero & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Future Rent-Seeking and Current Public Savings," NBER Working Papers 14417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arnaud Dellis, 2009. "The Salient Issue of Issue Salience," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(2), pages 203-231, 04.
  11. 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.
  12. Bruno Biais & Enrico Perotti, 2002. "Machiavellian Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 240-258, March.
  13. repec:bla:restud:v:77:y:2010:i:2:p:806-840 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Lizzeri, Alessandro, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 909-28, October.
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