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Debt-sensitive Majority Rules

Author

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  • Becker, Johannes Gerd
  • Gersbach, Hans
  • Grimm, Oliver

Abstract

We examine debt-sensitive majority rules. According to such a rule, the higher a planned public debt, the higher the parliamentary majority required to approve it. In a two-period model we compare debt-sensitive majority rules with the simple majority rule when individuals differ regarding their benefits from public-good provision. We establish the existence of Condorcet winners under debt-sensitive majority rules and derive their properties. We find that equilibrium debt-levels are lower under the debt-sensitive majority rule if preferences regarding public goods are sufficiently heterogeneous and if the impact of debt on future public-good provision is sufficiently strong. We illustrate how debt-sensitive majority rules act as political stabilizers in the event of negative macroeconomic shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Johannes Gerd & Gersbach, Hans & Grimm, Oliver, 2010. "Debt-sensitive Majority Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 7860, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7860
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ulrich Erlenmaier & Hans Gersbach, 2001. "Flexible Majority Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 464, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2012. "Rotten Parents and Disciplined Children: A Politico‐Economic Theory of Public Expenditure and Debt," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2785-2803, November.
    3. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation, and Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 201-236, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:04:p:1181-1206_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
    6. Alan J. Auerbach, 2008. "Federal Budget Rules: The US Experience," NBER Working Papers 14288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hans Gersbach, 2009. "Democratic Mechanisms," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1436-1469, December.
    8. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
    9. Gersbach, Hans & Kleinschmidt, Tobias, 2009. "Power to youth: Designing democracy for long-term well-being," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 158-172, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gersbach, Hans, 2017. "Flexible Majority Rules in democracyville: A guided tour," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 37-43.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:144:y:2017:i:c:p:133-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2015. "Optimal Mechanisms for the Control of Fiscal Deficits," CEPR Discussion Papers 10440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Grüner, Hans Peter, 2014. "Optimal mechanisms for the control of fiscal deficits," Working Paper Series 1708, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    debt restriction; debt-sensitive majority rule; fiscal policy; public debt; public goods; simple majority rule; voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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