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What determines the length of a typical Canadian parliamentary government?

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Abstract

In this paper we examine the length of political tenure in Canadian federally elected parliamentary governments since 1867. Using data on tenure length, we categorize the distribution of governing tenures in terms of a hazard function--the probability that an election will arise in each year, given that an election has not yet been called. We then ask whether that distribution responds in a systematic way to characteristics of the political and/or economic environment. Our particular focus is on whether there is evidence of electoral timing and whether governing parties have used economy policy in conjunction with federal elections. Finally we investigate whether partisan effects emerge. The results suggest that, independent of party affiliation, governing parties do engage in election timing. The data also suggest that election calls coincide with periods of monetary expansion and more with tax decreases than with expenditure increases, supporting the Persson and Tabellini (2003) hypothesis that under parliamentary systems, it is tax cuts (rather than expenditure increases) that will be most closely associated with elections. Unlike the case in other parliamentary systems, however, Canadian data also support the hypothesis that tough measures (expenditure cuts) are postponed until after elections.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Ferris & Marcel Voia, 2008. "What determines the length of a typical Canadian parliamentary government?," Carleton Economic Papers 08-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:08-06
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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. Eric Dubois, 2016. "Political Business Cycles 40 Years after Nordhaus," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01291401, HAL.
    3. J. Stephen Ferris & Marcel-Cristian Voia, 2015. "Political Parties in Canada: What Determines Their Entry, Exit and the Duration of Their Lives?," Carleton Economic Papers 15-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 04 Apr 2016.
    4. J. Stephen Ferris & Derek E. H. Olmstead, 2012. "Fixed versus Flexible Election Cycles: Explaining innovation in the timing of Canada’s Election Cycle," Carleton Economic Papers 12-04, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Dec 2016.
    5. repec:hal:journl:hal-01291401 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. J. Stephen Ferris, 2010. "Fiscal Policy from a Public Choice Perspective," Carleton Economic Papers 10-10, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    7. André Corrêa d’Almeida & Paulo Reis Mourão, "undated". "The Irrelevance of Political Parties’ Differences for Public Finances - Evidence from Public Deficit and Debt in Portugal (1974 – 2012) Abstract: This paper attempts to empirically test whether inter-," NIPE Working Papers 11/2015, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    8. repec:kap:copoec:v:28:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10602-017-9237-y is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Voia, Marcel-Cristian & Ferris, J. Stephen, 2013. "Do business cycle peaks predict election calls in Canada?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 102-118.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    duration models; election timing; political business cycles; political policy cycles.;

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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