IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design

  • Veronica Grembi
  • Tommaso Nannicini
  • Ugo Troiano

We evaluate the effect of relaxing fiscal rules on policy outcomes applying a quasiexperimental research design. In 1999 the Italian central government introduced fiscal rules aimed at imposing fiscal discipline on municipal governments, and in 2001 relaxed the rules for municipalities below 5,000 inhabitants. This shift allows us to implement a “difference-in-discontinuities” design by combining the before/after with the discontinuous policy variation. Our estimates show that relaxing fiscal rules triggers a substantial deficit bias, captured by a shift from a balanced budget to a deficit that amounts to 2 percent of the total budget. The deficit comes primarily from reduced revenues is unconstrained municipalities show lower real estate and income tax rates. Finally, we investigate the heterogeneity in policy responses across municipalities to provide new evidence on the costs and benefits of restricting fiscal policy. The impact is larger if the mayor can run for reelection, the number of political parties in the city council is higher, voters are older, and the performance of the mayor in providing public goods is lower, consistent with models of the political economy of fiscal adjustment. JEL codes: C21, C23, H62, H72, H77. Keywords: fiscal rules, local government finance, difference-in-discontinuities.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.unibocconi.it/wp/2011/397.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 397.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:397
Contact details of provider: Postal:
via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)

Phone: 0039-02-58363301
Fax: 0039-02-58363302
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/

Order Information: Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of fiscal rules in the US states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 101-117, January.
  2. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Troiano, Ugo, 2013. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program," MPRA Paper 52242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Clemens, Jeffrey, 2013. "State Fiscal Adjustment During Times of Stress: Possible Causes of the Severity and Composition of Budget Cuts," MPRA Paper 55921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto H., 1996. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 34295, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  5. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Working Papers 5556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Massimo Bordignon & Guido Tabellini, 2009. "Moderating Political Extremism: Single Round vs Runoff Elections under Plurality Rule," CESifo Working Paper Series 2600, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Nannicini, Tommaso & Stella, Andrea & Tabellini, Guido & Troiano, Ugo, 2010. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7782, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives from Selection," Working Papers 346, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. Charles Wyplosz, 2012. "Fiscal Rules: Theoretical Issues and Historical Experiences," NBER Working Papers 17884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1999. "Political Economics and Public Finance," NBER Working Papers 7097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Redistributive Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 909-928.
  13. Besley, Timothy, 2007. "Principled Agents?: The Political Economy of Good Government," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199283910, December.
  14. Milligan, Kevin & Lemieux, Thomas, 2006. "Incentive Effects of Social Assistance: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006280e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  15. Marco Bassetto, 2006. "Politics and Efficiency of Separating Capital and Ordinary Government Budgets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1167-1210.
  16. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, September.
  17. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2006. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," NBER Working Papers 12100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  19. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," Scholarly Articles 4553030, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  21. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 10609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Douglas Sutherland & Robert W. R. Price & Isabelle Joumard, 2005. "Fiscal Rules for Sub-central Governments: Design and Impact," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 465, OECD Publishing.
  23. Yianos Kontopoulos & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Government Fragmentation and Fiscal Policy Outcomes: Evidence from OECD Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 81-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Signe Krogstrup & Sébastien Wälti, 2008. "Do fiscal rules cause budgetary outcomes?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 123-138, July.
  25. 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.
  26. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  27. von Hagen, Jurgen, 1991. "A note on the empirical effectiveness of formal fiscal restraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 199-210, March.
  28. Jeffrey Clemens & Stephen Miran, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Multipliers on Subnational Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 46-68, May.
  29. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  30. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Nancy L. Stokey, 1982. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in an Economy Without Capital," Discussion Papers 532, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  31. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 1999. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," NBER Working Papers 7415, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Introduction to "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance"," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
  34. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2001. "An Empirical Investigation of the Strategic Use of Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 570-583, June.
  36. Alan J. Auerbach, 2004. "Budget Windows, Sunsets, and Fiscal Control," NBER Working Papers 10694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  38. Philippe Aghion & Albero Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1957, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  39. Galasso, Vincenzo & Nannicini, Tommaso, 2009. "Competing on Good Politicians," IZA Discussion Papers 4282, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  40. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2004. "Does the Size of the Legislature Affect the Size of Government? Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," Discussion Papers 350, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  41. Fischer, Stanley, 1983. "`Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital' by Robert E. Lucas and Nancy L. Stokey," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 95-99.
  42. Marina, Azzimonti & Marco, Battaglini & Stephen, Coate, 2010. "On the Case for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," MPRA Paper 25935, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  43. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1278-1308, September.
  44. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 1-31, March.
  45. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
  46. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  47. Poterba, James M, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Policy in the U.S. States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 395-400, May.
  48. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1989. "Exchange rate variability and asset trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 485-509, May.
  49. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1995. "Restraining Yourself: The Implications of Fiscal Rules for Economic Stabilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 32-48, March.
  50. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, 06.
  51. Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Elder, Todd, 2010. "Suburban legend: School cutoff dates and the timing of births," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 826-841, October.
  52. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel M. Sturm, 2010. "Political Competition, Policy and Growth: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEP Discussion Papers dp1009, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  53. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  54. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  55. Eric Maskin, 2003. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000076, UCLA Department of Economics.
  56. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  57. Alberto Alesina & Tamim Bayoumi, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Fiscal Rules: Evidence from U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 5614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  58. Knight, Brian G., 2000. "Supermajority voting requirements for tax increases: evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 41-67, April.
  59. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "The Value of School Facility Investments: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 215-261.
  60. Barry Eichengreen & Jurgen von Hagen, 1996. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Union: Is There a Tradeoff between Federalism and Budgetary Restrictions?," NBER Working Papers 5517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  61. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  62. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  63. Xavier Debrun & Laurent Moulin & Alessandro Turrini & Joaquim Ayuso-i-Casals & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2008. "Tied to the mast? National fiscal rules in the European Union," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 297-362, 04.
  64. Gordon, Robert J., 1989. "Comments 'political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies' by N. Roubini and J.D. Sachs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 934-938, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:397. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.