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Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies. A New Test Approach Using Fiscal Forecasts

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  • Ohlsson, Henry
  • Vredin, Anders

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

We test how government revenue and expenditure depend on economic activity, elections, and ideology. We show how the use of fiscal forecasts makes it possible better to understand the determinants of fiscal variables and to separate fiscal policy rules from discretionary policies. The approach is illustrated using a unique, unpublished Swedish data set of fiscal forecasts and forecasts of economic activity. Revenue varies positively with nominal earnings, expenditure varies negatively with real GDP. We find partisan effects, but no political business cycle effects. Revenue and expenditure are lower with non-Social democratic governments. The partisan effect on revenue is stronger than on expenditure. Using another unique data set, we find that there are autonomous decisions behind the reaction of expenditure, but not of revenue, to activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ohlsson, Henry & Vredin, Anders, 1994. "Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies. A New Test Approach Using Fiscal Forecasts," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 9, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Ohlsson, Henry & Vredin, Anders, 1996. " Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 203-218, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ozkan, F Gulcin, 2000. " Who Wants an Independent Central Bank? Monetary Policy-Making and Politics," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(4), pages 621-643, December.
    2. Carlsson, Mikael, 2000. "Measures of Technology and the Short-Run Responses to Technology Shocks - Is the RBC-Model Consistent with Swedish Manufacturing Data?," Working Paper Series 2000:20, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. Stijn Goeminne & Benny Geys & Carine Smolders, 2008. "Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(3), pages 297-315, June.
    4. Chatagny, Florian, 2015. "Incentive effects of fiscal rules on the finance minister's behavior: Evidence from revenue projections in Swiss Cantons," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 184-200.
    5. Borge, Lars-Erik, 2005. "Strong politicians, small deficits: evidence from Norwegian local governments," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 325-344, June.
    6. Ohlsson, Henry & Vredin, Anders, 1996. " Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 203-218, June.
    7. Easaw, J. Z. & Garratt, D., 1999. "UK government expenditure and electoral security in the 1980s: a non-linear analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 287-292, March.
    8. Bergvall, Anders, 2002. "The Stabilizing Properties of Floating Exchange Rates: Some International Evidence," Working Paper Series 2002:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    9. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
    10. Cusack, Thomas R., 1997. "Partisan politics and fiscal policy," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 97-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    11. Anders Bergvall, 2005. "Exchange rate regimes and macroeconomic stability: the case of Sweden," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 422-446, July.
    12. Price, Simon, 1997. "Political Business Cycles and Macroeconomic Credibility: A Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(3-4), pages 407-427, September.
    13. Susanna-maria Paleologou, 2005. "Political manoeuvrings as sources of measurement errors in forecasts," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 311-324.
    14. Ozkan, F Gulcin, 1998. "Partisan Business and Budget Cycles with Separate Fiscal and Monetary Authorities," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 66(2), pages 178-195, March.
    15. Mattias Erlandsson, 2004. "Partisan Differences in Swedish Macroeconomic Policy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 205-220, July.
    16. Zetterberg, Johnny, 1999. "Arbetslöshetstider i Sverige - utvecklingen 1976-1997," Working Paper Series 151, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    17. Vartiainen, Juhana, 1998. "Understanding Swedish Social Democracy: Victims of Success?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 19-39, Spring.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal forecasts; fiscal policy; policy reaction functions; feedback; autonomous decisions; partisan theories; political business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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