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Do Elections Affect the Composition of Fiscal Policy?

  • Margarita Katsimi
  • Vassilis Sarantides

This paper investigates the impact of elections on the level and composition of fiscal instruments using a sample of 19 high-income OECD countries that can be characterized as developed, established democracies during the period 1972-1999. We find that elections shift public spending towards current and away from capital expenditures. Moreover, although we find no evidence for an electoral cycle for government deficit and expenditures, we do find a negative effect of elections on revenue. Our results indicate that the fall in revenue in election periods is attributed to a fall in direct taxation. The decomposition of our electoral dummy suggests that fiscal manipulation seems to be concentrated shortly before the elections. Finally, when we distinguish among predetermined and endogenous elections we find that the above results apply only for the predetermined electoral periods while endogenous elections seem to increase the budget deficit and to leave the composition of fiscal policy unaffected.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2908.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2908
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  1. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
  2. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
  3. Clémence Vergne, 2011. "Democracy, Elections and Allocation of Public Expenditure in Developing Countries," Working Papers halshs-00564572, HAL.
  4. Alejandro Saporiti & Jorge Streb, 2008. "Separation of powers and political budget cycles," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 329-345, October.
  5. Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
  6. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  7. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & George Economides, 2008. "Fiscal policy, rent seeking, and growth under electoral uncertainty: theory and evidence from the OECD," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1375-1405, November.
  8. Mark Mink & Jakob de Haan, 2006. "Are there Political Budget Cycles in the Euro Area?," European Union Politics, , vol. 7(2), pages 191-211, June.
  9. Malley, Jim & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Woitek, Ulrich, 2007. "Electoral uncertainty, fiscal policy and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 1051-1080, March.
  10. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  11. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Positive Theory of Discretionary Policy, the Cost of Democratic Government and the Benefits of a Constitution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 367-88, July.
  12. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1367-1389, September.
  13. Schuknecht, Ludger, 2000. " Fiscal Policy Cycles and Public Expenditure in Developing Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 115-30, January.
  14. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  15. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2008. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2203-20, December.
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