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Constitutional determinants of government spending


  • Guido Tabellini


This paper surveys some recent literature on fiscal policy and comparative politics. Economic policy is viewed as the outcome of a game with multiple-principals and multiple-agents. Opportunistic politicians bargain over policy. Rational voters hold them accountable through retrospective voting. Political institutions determine the rules for legislative bargaining and for electing politicians to office. The questions asked are: how do alternative electoral rules and alternative regime types shape the size of government, the composition of spending, the performance of politicians in terms of effort or corruption, the features of electoral cycles. The paper discusses both theory and evidence, and concludes with some speculations about directions for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido Tabellini, "undated". "Constitutional determinants of government spending," Working Papers 162, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:162

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2002. "Political economics and public finance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1549-1659 Elsevier.
    2. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    3. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    5. Myerson Roger B., 1993. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 118-132, January.
    6. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    7. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    8. Paul F. Whiteley (ed.), 0. "Economic Policy," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 996.
    9. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jürgen von Hagen, 2002. "Fiscal Rules, Fiscal Institutions, and Fiscal Performance," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 263-284.
    2. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    3. Maria Rosaria Alfano & Anna Laura Baraldi & Claudia Cantabene, 2014. "The Effect of the Decentralization Degree on Corruption: A New Interpretation," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 2014/10, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    4. Hagen, Jürgen von, 2005. "Political Economy of Fiscal Institutions," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 149, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Andreas Kyriacou & Oriol Roca sagalés, 2009. "Fiscal descentralization and the quality of government: evidence from panel data," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 189(2), pages 131-155, June.
    6. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
    7. Alessandro Olper, 2001. "Determinants of Agricultural Protection: The Role of Democracy and Institutional Setting Alessandro Olper," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 75-92.
    8. Lessmann, Christian & Markwardt, Gunther, 2010. "One Size Fits All? Decentralization, Corruption, and the Monitoring of Bureaucrats," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 631-646, April.
    9. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:790-808 is not listed on IDEAS

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