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Making rules credible: divided government and political budget cycles

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  • Jorge Streb

    ()

  • Gustavo Torrens

    ()

Abstract

Political budget cycles (PBCs) can result from the credibility problems office-motivated incumbents face under asymmetric information, due to the temptation to manipulate fiscal policy to increase their electoral chances. We analyze the role of rules that limit public debt, because borrowing is a necessary condition for aggregate PBCs. Since the legislature must typically authorize new debt, divided government can make these fiscal rules credible. Commitment is undermined by either unified government or imperfect compliance with the budget law, which can help explain why PBCs are stronger in developing countries and in new democracies. When divided government affects efficiency, voters must trade off electoral distortions and government competence. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2013. "Making rules credible: divided government and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 703-722, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:156:y:2013:i:3:p:703-722
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-012-9923-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2011. "La economía política de la política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 455, Universidad del CEMA.
    2. Marek Hanusch & Daniel Magleby, 2014. "Popularity, polarization, and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 457-467, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Andrew Q. Philips, 2016. "Seeing the forest through the trees: a meta-analysis of political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 313-341, September.
    5. Pablo Garofalo & Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2016. "Party alignment, political budget cycles and vote within a federal country," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 601, Universidad del CEMA, revised May 2017.
    6. Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2013. "Ciclos electorales en política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 514, Universidad del CEMA.
    7. Jakob Haan & Jeroen Klomp, 2013. "Conditional political budget cycles: a review of recent evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 387-410, December.
    8. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Pablo Garofalo, 2012. "Temporal aggregation in political budget cycles," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2012), pages 39-78, August.
    9. John A. Dove, 2016. "Do fiscal constraints prevent default? Historical evidence from U.S. municipalities," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 185-209, May.
    10. Pantelis Kammas & Vassilis Sarantides, 2016. "Fiscal redistribution around elections when democracy is not “the only game in town”," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 279-311, September.
    11. 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; Unified government; Rules; Credibility; Divided government; 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
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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