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A better budget rule

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Dothan

    (Guy F. Atkinson Professor of Economics and Finance, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University, and author of Prices in Financial Markets)

  • Fred Thompson

    (Director of Willamette University's Center for Governance and Public Policy Research. He is a recipient of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management's Aaron B. Wildavsky award for scholarly achievement)

Abstract

Debt limits, interest coverage ratios, one-off balanced budget requirements, pay-as-you-go rules, and tax and expenditure limits are among the most important fiscal rules for constraining intertemporal transfers. There is considerable evidence that the least costly and most effective of such rules are those that focus directly on the rate of spending growth, even with their seemingly ad hoc nature and possibilities for circumvention. In this paper, we use optimal control theory and martingale methods to justify a transparent, nonarbitrary rule governing maximum sustainable rate of spending growth, treating the revenue structure of a jurisdiction as a given continuous-time stochastic process. Our results can be used to determine whether a proposed rate of spending growth is sustainable or not. © 2009 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Dothan & Fred Thompson, 2009. "A better budget rule," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 463-478.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:28:y:2009:i:3:p:463-478
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20441
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barseghyan, Levon & Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2013. "Fiscal policy over the real business cycle: A positive theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(6), pages 2223-2265.
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    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "The Forgotten History of Domestic Debt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 319-350, May.
    5. Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from the U.S. States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1046-1059, November.
    6. David M. Primo, 2006. "Stop Us Before We Spend Again: Institutional Constraints On Government Spending," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 269-312, November.
    7. Jonathan A. Rodden & Gunnar S. Eskeland (ed.), 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182297, January.
    8. Alberto F. Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 13-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E, 1991. "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 206-223, May.
    10. Willem H. Buiter, 1990. "Principles of Budgetary and Financial Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524139, January.
    11. Robert Berne & Leanna Stiefel, 1993. "Cutback budgeting: The long-term consequences," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 664-684.
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    1. repec:bla:pbudge:v:37:y:2017:i:2:p:35-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    3. Popescu, Razvan-Florin & Prodan, Sergiu, 2010. "The analysis of budget rules and macroeconomic implications in several developed economies," MPRA Paper 25897, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.

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