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Incentive Effects of Fiscal Rules on the Finance Minister's Behaviour: Evidence from Revenue Projections in Swiss Cantons

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  • Florian Chatagny

Abstract

Predicting available tax revenue accurately is a key step of fiscal policy. It has recently been shown that revenue projection errors have a direct impact on fiscal deficits. In this paper, we explore the relationship between the ideology of the finance minister and tax revenue projection errors, and assess how the stringency of fiscal rules alters this relationship. We use a panel dataset of 26 Swiss cantons over the period 1980-2007 as well as a new dataset of 99 finance ministers at the cantonal level. Our empirical strategy exploits the fact that the allocation of the departments - including the department of finance - to the elected politicians is a random process from the point of view of the voters. We identify a rather counter-intuitive positive effect of the ideology of the finance minister on tax revenue projection errors in the sense that a more left-wing finance minister produces relatively more conservative forecasts. We also find that fiscal rules reduce the effect of ideology on tax revenue projection errors. These results suggest that left-wing finance ministers need to curb deficits relatively more in order to signal the same level of competence to the voters than right-wing finance ministers. They also suggest that fiscal rules render the signal less informative to the voters and thereby reduce the incentive for left-wing finance ministers to be more conservative in their projections.

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  • Florian Chatagny, 2015. "Incentive Effects of Fiscal Rules on the Finance Minister's Behaviour: Evidence from Revenue Projections in Swiss Cantons," CESifo Working Paper Series 5223, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5223
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    1. repec:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201706)73:2_213:mffeft_2.0.tx_2-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2017. "The effects of the new fiscal rule and creative accounting: Empirical evidence from Japanese municipalities," MPRA Paper 79812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld, 2018. "Vertical effects of fiscal rules: the Swiss experience," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(3), pages 673-721, June.
    4. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
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    6. Matteo Picchio & Raffaella Santolini, 2019. "Fiscal rules and budget forecast errors of Italian Municipalities," Working Papers 438, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    7. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Christoph Schinke, 2017. "Manipulating Fiscal Forecasts: Evidence from the German States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6310, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Boukari, Mamadou & Veiga, Francisco José, 2018. "Disentangling political and institutional determinants of budget forecast errors: A comparative approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1030-1045.
    9. Marianne Yousseff ISKANDAR, 2016. "The Effectiveness of Fiscal Rules - The Case of Switzerland," Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, KSP Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 264-267, September.
    10. repec:spr:sjecst:v:154:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s41937-017-0017-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:186-204 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
    13. Chatagny, Florian & Siliverstovs, Boriss, 2015. "Evaluating rationality of level and growth rate forecasts of direct tax revenues under flexible loss function: Evidence from Swiss cantons," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 65-68.
    14. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:166-191 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ideology; finance minister; fiscal rules; tax revenue projections;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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