Temporal aggregation in political budget cycles
While existing cross-country studies on political budget cycles rely on annual data, we build a panel with quarterly and monthly data from Latin American and OECD countries over the 1980-2005 period. Disaggregated data allow to center the electoral year more precisely, and show the effects are concentrated in a three-quarter window around elections. Cycles are statistically significant only in Latin America, but the pattern is similar to OECD countries: the budget surplus/GDP ratio falls in the election period and rises in the post-election period. In line with the logic of rational opportunistic manipulation, these effects cancel out.
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