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Making rules credible: Divided government and political budget cycles

  • Jorge M. Streb
  • Gustavo F. Torrens

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.

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Paper provided by Universidad del CEMA in its series CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. with number 395.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:395
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