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Fiscal Rules and the Opportunistic Behaviour of the Incumbent Politician: Evidence from Italian Municipalities

Author

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  • David Bartolini
  • Raffaella Santolini

Abstract

Previous studies on electoral competition show that fiscal variables are manipulated by incumbent politicians in order to be re-elected. This phenomenon has been addressed by the literature on electoral budget cycle and, in a decentralised economy, by the literature on yardstick competition. Our objective is to consider the effect of the introduction of a fiscal rule on the opportunistic behaviour of incumbent politicians. We conduct a panel data analysis on the current expenditures of 246 Italian municipalities. The introduction of the domestic stability pact (DSP) seems to change the electoral cycle, by increasing the magnitude of the expenditures during pre-electoral periods. Moreover, our results show that municipalities affected by the DSP are more sensitive to changes in neighbouring jurisdictions’ fiscal policies, during pre-electoral periods. We conclude that the introduction of the DSP, besides significantly reducing the level of local public spending, strengthens the opportunistic behaviour of incumbent politicians in pre-electoral years.

Suggested Citation

  • David Bartolini & Raffaella Santolini, 2009. "Fiscal Rules and the Opportunistic Behaviour of the Incumbent Politician: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CESifo Working Paper Series 2605, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2605
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Heinemann, Friedrich & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Yeter, Mustafa, 2015. "Do Fiscal Rules Constrain Fiscal Policy? A Meta-Regression-Analysis," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112800, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. W. D. Gregori, 2014. "Fiscal Rules and Public Spending: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," Working Papers wp923, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Alberto Batinti & Andrea Filippetti & Luca Andriani, 2017. "Why Does Social Capital Increase Government Performance? The Role of Local Elections across Italian Municipalities," Management Working Papers 13, Birkbeck Department of Management, revised Apr 2017.
    4. repec:eee:regeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Padovano, Fabio & Petrarca, Ilaria, 2014. "Are the responsibility and yardstick competition hypotheses mutually consistent?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 459-477.
    6. Repetto, Luca, 2016. "Political budget cycles with informed voters: evidence from Italy," Working Paper Series 2016:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:eee:poleco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:69-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Marika Cioffi & Giovanna Messina & Pietro Tommasino, 2012. "Parties, institutions and political budget cycles at the municipal level," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 885, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal rules; electoral budget cycle; yardstick competition; system GMM; spatial econometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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