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Making rules credible: Divided government and political budget cycles

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  • Jorge M. Streb
  • Gustavo F. Torrens

Abstract

Political budget cycles (PBCs) result from the credibility problems that office-motivated incumbents face under asymmetric information, due to their temptation to manipulate fiscal policy to increase their electoral chances. We analyze the role of rules that limit debt, crucial for aggregate PBCs to take place. Since the budget process under separation of powers typically requires that the legislature authorize new debt, divided government can make these fisscal rules credible. Commitment is undermined either by unified government or by imperfect compliance with the budget law. When divided government affects efficiency, voters must trade off electoral distortions and government competence.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo F. Torrens, 2009. "Making rules credible: Divided government and political budget cycles," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 395, Universidad del CEMA.
  • Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:395
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Pablo Garofalo, 2012. "Temporal aggregation in political budget cycles," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2012), pages 39-78, August.
    3. Jorge M. Streb & Gustavo Torrens, 2011. "La economía política de la política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 455, Universidad del CEMA.
    4. Pablo Garofalo & Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2016. "Party alignment, political budget cycles and vote within a federal country," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 601, Universidad del CEMA, revised May 2017.
    5. Marek Hanusch & Daniel Magleby, 2014. "Popularity, polarization, and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 457-467, June.
    6. Daniel Lema & Jorge M. Streb, 2013. "Ciclos electorales en política fiscal," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 514, Universidad del CEMA.
    7. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Gustavo Torrens, 2009. "Checks and Balances on Political Budget Cycles: Cross-Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 426-447, August.
    8. Jakob Haan & Jeroen Klomp, 2013. "Conditional political budget cycles: a review of recent evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 387-410, December.
    9. Andrew Q. Philips, 2016. "Seeing the forest through the trees: a meta-analysis of political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 313-341, September.
    10. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:228-237 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. John A. Dove, 2016. "Do fiscal constraints prevent default? Historical evidence from U.S. municipalities," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 185-209, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political budget cycles; discretion; unified government; rules; credibility; separation of powers; divided government;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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