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Ineffective Fiscal Rules? The Effect of Public Sector Accounting Standards on Budgets, Efficiency, and Accountability

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  • Florian Dorn
  • Stefanie Gäbler
  • Felix Rösel

Abstract

International organizations have encouraged national governments to switch from traditional cash-based to business-like accrual accounting, on the presumption that long-run benefits may outweigh substantial implementation and operating costs. We use a quasi-experimental setting to evaluate whether changing public sector accounting standards is justified. Some local governments in the German federal state of Bavaria introduced accrual accounting while others retained cash-based accounting. Difference-in-differences and event-study results do not show that (capital) expenditures, public debt, voter turnout, or government efficiency developed differently after changes in accounting standards. Operating costs of administration, however, increase under accrual accounting.

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  • Florian Dorn & Stefanie Gäbler & Felix Rösel, 2019. "Ineffective Fiscal Rules? The Effect of Public Sector Accounting Standards on Budgets, Efficiency, and Accountability," ifo Working Paper Series 312, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_312
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    3. Désirée I. Christofzik & Florian Dorn & Stefanie Gäbler & Christian Raffer & Felix Rösel, 2020. "Bremst die Doppik öffentliche Investitionen? Ergebnisse aus drei aktuellen Evaluationsstudien [Does Accrual Accounting Reduce Public Investment? Evidence from Three Recent Evaluation Studies]," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100(9), pages 707-711, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal rules; public accounting; budget transparency; sustainability; government efficiency; accountability; local government;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration

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