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Parties, institutions and political budget cycles at the municipal level

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  • Marika Cioffi

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Giovanna Messina

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Pietro Tommasino

    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

We study the magnitude, the determinants and the electoral consequences of pre-electoral fiscal manipulation by incumbent politicians. To this aim, we build a dataset covering all the Italian municipalities. We document several facts. First, there is a clear political cycle in the path of expenditures, driven by capital outlays. Second, only mayors not affiliated to a national political party induce an election-driven expenditure cycle. Third, pre-electoral expenditure boosts increase re-election prospects of the incumbent only if she is not affiliated to a party. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that national parties have both the incentives and the resources to curb the pre-electoral profligacy of party-affiliated mayors. We also consider the impact of formal institutions. In particular, we find that budget rules reduce the effects of the political cycle, whereas binding term limits seem to be ineffective.

Suggested Citation

  • Marika Cioffi & Giovanna Messina & Pietro Tommasino, 2012. "Parties, institutions and political budget cycles at the municipal level," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 885, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_885_12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Bracco, Emanuele & Lockwood, Ben & Porcelli, Francesco & Redoano, Michela, 2015. "Intergovernmental grants as signals and the alignment effect: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 78-91.
    3. Andrea Bonfatti & Lorenzo Forni, 2016. "Do fiscal rules reduce the political cycle? Evidence from Italian municipalities," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0208, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    4. Bonfatti, Andrea & Forni, Lorenzo, 2019. "Fiscal rules to tame the political budget cycle: Evidence from Italian municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    5. Bracco, Emanuele & Redoano, Michela & Porcelli, Francesco, 2012. "Incumbent Effects and Partisan Alignment in Local Elections: a Regression Discontinuity Analysis Using Italian Data," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 87, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Fiorenza Venturini, 2018. "The Unintended Composition Effect of the Subnational Government Fiscal Rules: The Case of Italian Municipalities," Working papers 70, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    7. Manuela Krause, 2019. "Communal fees and election cycles: Evidence from German municipalities," ifo Working Paper Series 293, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. Felix Rösel, 2017. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Supervision and Budget Deficits: Evidence from Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 641-666, December.
    9. Felix Rösel, 2014. "Co-Partisan Buddies or Partisan Bullies? Why State Supervision of Local Government Borrowing Fails," ifo Working Paper Series 189, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    10. JEdgar Alfredo Nande Vazque & Juan Carlos Martínez, 2016. "Political Budget Cycle: Mexican Town Halls Case," International Journal of Business and Social Research, LAR Center Press, vol. 6(8), pages 31-42, August.
    11. JEdgar Alfredo Nande Vazque & Juan Carlos Martínez, 2016. "Political Budget Cycle: Mexican Town Halls Case," International Journal of Business and Social Research, MIR Center for Socio-Economic Research, vol. 6(8), pages 31-42, August.
    12. Gamalerio, Matteo, 2020. "Do national political parties matter? Evidence from Italian municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    13. Paolo Chiades & Luciano Greco & Vanni Mengotto & Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2016. "Intergovernmental transfers and expenditure arrears," Working Papers hal-01442684, HAL.
    14. Bertacchini, Enrico & Dalle Nogare, Chiara, 2014. "Public provision vs. outsourcing of cultural services: Evidence from Italian cities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 168-182.
    15. M. Ayhan Kose & Franziska Ohnsorge & Naotaka Sugawara, 2020. "Benefits and Costs of Debt: The Dose Makes the Poison," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2006, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    16. Jan Kluge & Gunther Markwardt & Christian Thater, 2017. "Self-Preserving Leviathans Evidence from Local-Level Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 594-621, November.
    17. Dirk Foremny & Ronny Freier & Marc-Daniel Moessinger & Mustafa Yeter, 2018. "Overlapping political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 177(1), pages 1-27, October.
    18. Jakob Haan & Jeroen Klomp, 2013. "Conditional political budget cycles: a review of recent evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 387-410, December.
    19. Dalle Nogare, Chiara & Kauder, Björn, 2017. "Term limits for mayors and intergovernmental grants: Evidence from Italian cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-11.
    20. Francesco Prota & Maria Jennifer Grisorio, 2018. "Public expenditure in time of crisis: are Italian policymakers choosing the right mix?," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 35(2), pages 337-365, August.
    21. Paolo Chiades & Luciano Greco & Vanni Menegotto & Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2015. "Fiscal Consolidation and Expenditure Arrears: Evidence from Local Governments’ Investments," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0197, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political budget cycles; local public finance; political parties;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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