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Political Budget Cycles: A Review of Recent Developments


  • Min Shi
  • Jakob Svensson


This paper provides a review of recent developments in the theory and evidence of political budget cycles. Specifically, we discuss three areas where significant progress has been made. First, new theoretical explanations (models) have been proposed where political budget cycles arise as the result of a moral hazard problem between the government and the electorate. Second, more sophisticated empirical methods, in particular, time series methods appropriate for dynamic panel data regressions, have been adopted in cross-country analyses. Last but not least, the focus of recent studies has shifted from industrialized countries to all (including developing) countries, and from the existence of political budget cycles to the magnitude and composition (revenue vs. spending) of these cycles.

Suggested Citation

  • Min Shi & Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Political Budget Cycles: A Review of Recent Developments," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 29, pages 67-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:noj:journl:v:29:y:2003:p:67-76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arellano, Manuel & Bover, Olympia, 1995. "Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 29-51, July.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:71:y:1977:i:04:p:1467-1487_26 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    4. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
    5. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2000. "Fiscal Policy Cycles and Public Expenditure in Developing Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 115-130, January.
    6. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Conditional Political Budget Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 3352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    8. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1996. "Political Business Cycles and Fiscal Policies in Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 155-170.
    9. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    10. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
    11. Block, Steven A., 2002. "Political business cycles, democratization, and economic reform: the case of Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 205-228, February.
    12. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    More about this item


    Political budget cycles; dynamic panel estimation; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy


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