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Should voters be afraid of hard budget constraint legislation? Fiscal responsibility law in Brazilian municipalities


  • Arvate, Paulo Roberto
  • Pereira, Carlos


This manuscript demonstrates that voters have nothing to be afraid of when new hard budget constraint legislation is implemented. Our claim is that this kind of legislation reduces the asymmetry of information between voters and incumbents over the budget and, as a consequence, the latter have incentives to increase the supply of public goods. As a nationwide institutional innovation, the Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) is exogenous to all municipalities; therefore, there is no self-selection bias in its implementation. We show that public goods expenditure increases after the FRL. Second, this increase occurs in municipalities located in the country’s poorest region. Third, our findings can be extended to the supply of public goods because the higher the expenditure with health and education, the greater the probability of incumbents being re-elected. Finally, there exists a 'de facto' higher supply of public goods in education (number of per capita classrooms) after the FRL.

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  • Arvate, Paulo Roberto & Pereira, Carlos, 2010. "Should voters be afraid of hard budget constraint legislation? Fiscal responsibility law in Brazilian municipalities," Textos para discussão 232, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:fgv:eesptd:232

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    1. Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 209-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2006. "Revisiting Inter-Industry Wage Differentials and the Gender Wage Gap: An Identification Problem," IZA Discussion Papers 2427, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. José Carlos Ferreira Da Silva & Vander Mendes Lucas & Moisés De Andrade Resende Filho, 2014. "Royalties Do Petróleo E Eleições Municipais: O Caso Brasileiro," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 078, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

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