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Using Real-Time Data to Test for Political Budget Cycles

  • Richard Jong-A-Pin
  • Jan-Egbert Sturm
  • Jakob de Haan

We use real]time annual data on the fiscal balance, government current spending, current revenues and net capital outlays as published at a half yearly frequency in the OECD Economic Outlook for 25 OECD countries. For each fiscal year t we have a number of forecasts, a first release, and subsequent revisions. It turns out that revisions in the fiscal balance data are not affected by elections. However, we do find that governments spend more than reported before an election which provides support for moral-hazard type of political budget cycle (PBC) models: through hidden efforts the incumbent tries to enhance his perceived competence. We also find that governments had higher current receipts than reported before an election, which is in line with adverse]selection type of PBC models in which incumbents signal competence through expansionary fiscal policy before the elections.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-09/cesifo1_wp3939.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3939.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3939
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  1. Georgios Efthyvoulou, 2012. "Political budget cycles in the European Union and the impact of political pressures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 295-327, December.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides & Simon van Norden, 2002. "The Unreliability of Output-Gap Estimates in Real Time," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 569-583, November.
  3. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2009. "Planning to cheat: EU fiscal policy in real time," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 753-804, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Tilman Brück & Andreas Stephan, 2006. "Do Eurozone Countries Cheat with their Budget Deficit Forecasts?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 3-15, 02.
  6. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2011. "Real-time data and fiscal policy analysis: a survey of the literature," Working Papers 11-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  7. Min Shi & Jakob Svensson, 2003. "Political Budget Cycles: A Review of Recent Developments," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 29, pages 67-76.
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