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What Determines Fiscal Policy? Evidence from German States

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  • Helge Berger
  • Anika Holler

Abstract

This paper explores the factors behind the time path of real spending and revenue in the West German states from 1975 to 2004. The empirical approach stresses robustness and takes into account a large set of economic and political variables. Our results suggest that common economic factors and, to a smaller degree, state-specific economic developments are important determinants of state fiscal performance. In comparison, the influence of political factors is limited both in statistical and quantitative terms. Finally, there is evidence that addressing governance problems and ensuring flexibility in terms of fiscal strategy are important ingredients for any policy aimed at improving fiscal outcomes at the state level.

Suggested Citation

  • Helge Berger & Anika Holler, 2007. "What Determines Fiscal Policy? Evidence from German States," CESifo Working Paper Series 2062, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2062
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2062.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
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    4. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Seitz, Helmut, 2000. "Fiscal Policy, Deficits and Politics of Subnational Governments: The Case of the German Laender," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(3-4), pages 183-218, March.
    6. Jochimsen, Beate & Nuscheler, Robert, 2005. "The Political Economy of the German Länder Deficits," Discussion Papers 2005/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    7. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1997. "I Just Ran Two Million Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 178-183, May.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1994. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," NBER Working Papers 4637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Niklas Potrafke, 2006. "Parties Matter in Allocating Expenditures: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 652, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sven Jari Stehn & Annalisa Fedelino, 2009. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the German Equalization System," IMF Working Papers 09/124, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Economic Freedom and Government Ideology across the German States," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(3), pages 433-449, March.
    3. Foremny, Dirk & Riedel, Nadine, 2014. "Business taxes and the electoral cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 48-61.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6913 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hayo, Bernd & Neumeier, Florian, 2014. "Political leaders' socioeconomic background and fiscal performance in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 184-205.
    6. Braendle, Thomas, 2012. "Determinants of Employment in the Ministerial Bureaucracy," Working papers 2012/01, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    German Länder; fiscal policy; public spending; public debt; extreme bounds analysis; governance;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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