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Voter suffrage and the political budget cycle: evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937

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  • Toke Aidt
  • Graham Mooney

Abstract

We study the opportunistic political budget cycle in the London Metropolitan Boroughs between 1902 and 1937 under two different suffrage regimes: taxpayer suffrage (1902-1914) and universal suffrage (1921-1937). We argue and find supporting evidence that the political budget cycle operates differently under the two types of suffrage. Taxpayer suffrage, where the right to vote and the obligation to pay local taxes are linked, encourages demands for retrenchment and the political budget cycle manifests itself in election year tax cuts and savings on administration costs. Universal suffrage, where all adult residents can vote irrespective of their taxpayer status, creates demands for productive public services and the political budget cycle manifests itself in election year hikes in capital spending and a reduction in current spending.

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  • Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney, 2014. "Voter suffrage and the political budget cycle: evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1401, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1401
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Dubois, 2016. "Political business cycles 40 years after Nordhaus," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 235-259, January.
    2. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2014. "Social Capital and Performance of Fiscal Institution in India during 1991-2012," MPRA Paper 75827, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jun 2015.
    3. Aidt, Toke & Asatryan, Zareh & Badalyan, Lusine & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2015. "Vote buying or (political) business (cycles) as usual?," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-017, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2016. "Debt Brakes in the German States: Governments’ Rhetoric and Actions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(2), pages 253-275, May.
    5. Pantelis Kammas & Vassilis Sarantides, 2016. "Fiscal redistribution around elections when democracy is not “the only game in town”," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 279-311, September.
    6. Chortareas, Georgios & Logothetis, Vasileios & Papandreou, Andreas A., 2016. "Political budget cycles and reelection prospects in Greece's municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-13.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Local public finance; voting franchise; suffrage; opportunistic political budget cycles; London;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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