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Are Budget Deficits Used Strategically?

  • Luisa Lambertini

    ()

    (Boston College)

This paper tests empirically the strategic explanation of budget deficits suggested by Tabellini and Alesina and Persson and Svensson. Tabellini and Alesina suggest that governments with di erent political orientation provide different public goods. The model predicts that: a) public good provision follows a political pattern; b) the incumbent that anticipates her defeat at the next election runs budget deficits to tie the hands of the future government. Persson and Svensson suggest that liberal governments prefer more public good provision than conservative ones. The model predicts that: a) the conservative (liberal) incumbent that anticipates her defeat at the next election runs budget deficits (surpluses); b) budget imbalances have a political color. Using U.S. and pooled data for sixteen OECD countries, we find little evidence that the incumbent's probability of being voted out of office explains budget deficits, that the provision of public goods follows a political pattern or that budget imbalances have a political color.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 578.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:578
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  1. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
  2. Bohn, Henning & Inman, Robert P., 1996. "Balanced-budget rules and public deficits: evidence from the U.S. states," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 13-76, December.
  3. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-78, August.
  4. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-73, May.
  5. Guido Tabellini & Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," UCLA Economics Working Papers 539, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E., 1988. "Common trends, the government's budget constraint, and revenue smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 425-444.
  7. Alberto Alesina & John Londregan & Howard Rosenthal, 1991. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States," NBER Working Papers 3611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Garfinkel, Michelle R & Glazer, Amihai, 1994. "Does Electoral Uncertainty Cause Economic Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 169-73, May.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Londregan, John, 1993. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States," Scholarly Articles 4552529, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
  11. Hausman, Jerry A., 1983. "Specification and estimation of simultaneous equation models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 391-448 Elsevier.
  12. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Chamberlain, Gary, 1980. "Analysis of Covariance with Qualitative Data," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 225-38, January.
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