Prudent Budgetary Policy: Political Economy of Precautionary Taxation
The theory of tax smoothing and determination of public debt with uncertain future national income is extended for prudence. A prudent government deliberately underestimates future national income and the tax base, especially if the variance and persistence of shocks hitting the tax base are large and the tax rate and the unemployment benefit are large. As a precaution the tax rate is set higher and the level of public spending lower. As a result, as income and the tax base turn out to be bigger than budgeted, the minister of finance enjoys windfall revenues and is able to gradually reduce debt and debt service over time. This permits, depending on political preferences, either gradual cuts in the tax rate, gradual increases in government spending or a combination of both. It is easy to allow for government assets as well. Finally, political economy justifications are offered of why it is desirable to appoint a strong and pessimistic minister of finance. In particular, we show that prudence is able to offset the intertemporal spending, tax and debt biases resulting from the common-pool distortions. If the minister of finance and the prime minister are given as many voting rights as the spending ministers combined, the intratemporal common-pool distortions of an excessively large public sector are eliminated as well. A strong and pessimistic minister of finance can thus control the impatient profligacy of squabbling spending ministers. However, if voters care about outcomes on election eve, prudence may be abused for short-run electoral gains. Opportunistic manipulation of election results, however, also dampens the intertemporal common-pool distortions.
|Date of creation:||2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich|
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo-group.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- L. Eeckhoudt & C. Gollier, 2005.
"The impact of prudence on optimal prevention,"
- Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, December.
- Shaghil Ahmed & John H. Rogers, 1995.
"Government budget deficits and trade deficits: are present value constraints satisfied in long-term data?,"
International Finance Discussion Papers
494, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Ahmed, Shaghil & Rogers, John H., 1995. "Government budget deficits and trade deficits Are present value constraints satisfied in long-term data?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 351-374, November.
- Ahmed, S. & Rogers, J.H., 1993. "Government Budget Deficits and Trade Deficits: Are Present Value Constraints Satisfied in Long-Term Data?," Papers 5-93-6, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
- Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
- Frederick van der Ploeg, 1993. "A Closed-form Solution for a Model of Precautionary Saving," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 385-395.
- Swank, Otto H, 2002. "Budgetary Devices for Curbing Spending Prone Ministers and Bureaucrats," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(3-4), pages 237-57, June.
- Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E., 1988.
"Common trends, the government's budget constraint, and revenue smoothing,"
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control,
Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 425-444.
- Bharat Trehan & Carl E. Walsh, 1987. "Common trends, the government's budget constraint, and revenue smoothing," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 87-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999.
"Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union,"
in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 209-232
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mark Hallerberg & Jurgen von Hagen, 1997. "Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union," NBER Working Papers 6341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Miles S. Kimball, 1989.
"Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large,"
NBER Working Papers
2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
- Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986.
"On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-19, September.
- James D. Hamilton & Marjorie A. Flavin, 1985. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for Empirical Testing," NBER Working Papers 1632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Antoine Bommier, 2001.
"Uncertain lifetime and intertemporal choice : risk aversion as a rationale for time discounting,"
Research Unit Working Papers
0108, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
- Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
- Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
- William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
- Quintos, Carmela E, 1995. "Sustainability of the Deficit Process with Structural Shifts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(4), pages 409-17, October.
- Velasco, Andres, 2000. "Debts and deficits with fragmented fiscal policymaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 105-125, April.
- António Afonso, 2005.
"Fiscal Sustainability: The Unpleasant European Case,"
FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis,
Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(1), pages 19-, March.
- Antonio Afonso, 2004. "Fiscal Sustainability: the Unpleasant European Case," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2004 57, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
- Barro, Robert J, 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
- von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995.
"Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
- International Monetary Fund, 1996. "Budget Processes and Commitment to Fiscal Discipline," IMF Working Papers 96/78, International Monetary Fund.
- Kenneth Rogoff, 1987.
"Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles,"
NBER Working Papers
2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1973. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.