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Committed to Deficit: The Reverse Side of Fiscal Governance

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Abstract

Common wisdom dictates that fiscal governance (i.e. procedural fiscal rules) improves fiscal discipline. We rather find that selected fiscal constraints protect the coalitional status quo from logrolling. In effect, fiscal governance may deteriorate fiscal position. In political economy with heterogeneous agents, we examine four procedural fiscal rules: limits on amendments in legislative committees, timing of a vote on the budget size, deficit targets, and spending level targets. We find that fiscal governance protects the budgetary contract of governing coalition from attractive compromises with the opposition. When parties are evenly distributed across single policy dimension, and minimum winning connected coalitions are equiprobable, this protection is shown to magnify volatility in taxes and spending. Moreover, the volatility may increase in more fragmented party systems. We conclude fiscal governance not always and not necessarily reduces fiscal costs of fragmentation.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gregor, 2005. "Committed to Deficit: The Reverse Side of Fiscal Governance," Working Papers IES 88, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp088
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    1. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 2003. "Budgetary Policy with Unified and Decentralized Appropriations Authority," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(3-4), pages 347-367, June.
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    Keywords

    Fiscal Governance; Party Fragmentation;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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