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Where Does the Political Budget Cycle Really Come From?

  • Brender, Adi
  • Drazen, Allan
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    Whereas a political budget cycle was once thought to be a phenomenon of less-developed economies, some recent studies find such a cycle in a large cross-section of both developed and developing countries. We find that this result is driven by the experience of ‘new democracies’, where fiscal manipulation may be effective because of lack of experience with electoral politics or lack of information that voters in more established democracies use. The strong budget cycle in those countries accounts for the finding of a budget cycle in larger samples that include these countries. Once these countries are removed from the larger sample, the political budget cycle disappears. Our findings may reconcile two contradictory views of pre-electoral manipulation, one arguing it is a useful instrument to gain voter support and a widespread empirical phenomenon, the other arguing that voters punish rather than reward fiscal manipulation.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4049.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4049
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    1. Alberto Alesina & Gerald D. Cohen & Nouriel Roubini, 1991. "Macroeconomic Policy and Elections in OECD Democracies," NBER Working Papers 3830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
    3. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    4. Alesina, Alberto Francesco & Perotti, Roberto & Tavares, Jose, 1998. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments," Scholarly Articles 12553724, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Cohen, Gerald & Alesina, Alberto & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Macroeconomic Policy and Elections in OECD Democracies," Scholarly Articles 4553023, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Schuknecht, Ludger, 1996. "Political Business Cycles and Fiscal Policies in Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 155-70.
    7. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-73, May.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Gerald D. Cohen & Nouriel Roubini, 1992. "Macroeconomic Policy And Elections In Oecd Democracies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, 03.
    9. Block, Steven A., 2002. "Political business cycles, democratization, and economic reform: the case of Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 205-228, February.
    10. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2002. "Conditional Political Budget Cycles," CEPR Discussion Papers 3352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. repec:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:2:p:327-61 is not listed on IDEAS
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