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Ineffective fiscal rules? The effect of public sector accounting standards on budgets, efficiency, and accountability

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  • Florian Dorn

    (University of Munich)

  • Stefanie Gaebler

    (University of Munich)

  • Felix Roesel

    (Technische Universität Dresden)

Abstract

International organizations have encouraged national governments to switch from traditional cash-based to business-like accrual accounting, on the presumption that long-run benefits may outweigh substantial implementation and operating costs. We use a quasi-experimental setting to evaluate whether changing public sector accounting standards is justified. Some local governments in the German federal state of Bavaria introduced accrual accounting while others retained cash-based accounting. Difference-in-differences and event-study results do not show that (capital) expenditures, public debt, voter turnout, or government efficiency developed differently after changes in accounting standards. Operating costs of administration, however, increase under accrual accounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Florian Dorn & Stefanie Gaebler & Felix Roesel, 2021. "Ineffective fiscal rules? The effect of public sector accounting standards on budgets, efficiency, and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 186(3), pages 387-412, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:186:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-019-00755-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-019-00755-8
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    Cited by:

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    3. Ludger Schuknecht & Christoph A. Schaltegger & Michele Salvi & Jan Schnellenbach & Thomas Lenk & Christian Bender & Mario Hesse & Gert G. Wagner & Stefan Korioth & Klaus Gründler & Philipp Heil & Nikl, 2021. "Debt Brake as a Bone of Contention: A Proven Instrument Even in Times of Crisis?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 74(04), pages 03-30, April.
    4. ENWEREJI, Prince Chukwuneme, 2022. "Enhancing Financial Accountability In South African Local Municipalities: A Consequence Management Viewpoint," Studii Financiare (Financial Studies), Centre of Financial and Monetary Research "Victor Slavescu", vol. 26(4), pages 19-47, December.
    5. Raffer, Christian, 2020. "Accrual Accounting and the Local Government Budget - A Matching Evaluation," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224630, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Hirota, Haruaki, 2023. "Do public account financial statements matter? Evidence from Japanese municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    7. Désirée I. Christofzik & Florian Dorn & Stefanie Gäbler & Christian Raffer & Felix Rösel, 2020. "Bremst die Doppik öffentliche Investitionen? Ergebnisse aus drei aktuellen Evaluationsstudien [Does Accrual Accounting Reduce Public Investment? Evidence from Three Recent Evaluation Studies]," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100(9), pages 707-711, September.
    8. Long Qian & Yunjie Zhou & Ying Sun, 2023. "Regional Differences, Distribution Dynamics, and Convergence of the Green Total Factor Productivity of China’s Cities under the Dual Carbon Targets," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(17), pages 1-26, August.
    9. Florian Dorn, 2021. "Elections and Government Efficiency," ifo Working Paper Series 363, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. Dorn, Florian, 2023. "Elections and Government Efficiency," VfS Annual Conference 2023 (Regensburg): Growth and the "sociale Frage" 277700, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Sebastian Blesse & Florian Dorn & Max Lay, 2023. "Do Fiscal Rules Undermine Public Investments? A Review of Empirical Evidence," ifo Working Paper Series 393, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    12. Gootjes, Bram & de Haan, Jakob, 2022. "Do fiscal rules need budget transparency to be effective?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
    13. D’Inverno, Giovanna & Vidoli, Francesco & De Witte, Kristof, 2023. "Sustainable budgeting and financial balance: Which lever will you pull?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 309(2), pages 857-871.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal rules; Public accounting; Budget transparency; Sustainability; Government efficiency; Accountability; Local government;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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