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The Causes of Fiscal Transparency: Evidence from the American States

Author

Listed:
  • James E. Alt

    (Department of Government, Harvard University)

  • David Dreyer Lassen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Shanna Rose

    (Department of Political Science, State University of New York (SUNY) - Stony Brook)

Abstract

We use unique panel data on the evolution of transparent budget procedures in the American states over the past three decades to explore the political and economic determinants of fiscal transparency. Our case studies and quantitative analysis suggest that both politics and fiscal policy outcomes influence the level of transparency. More equal political competition and power sharing are associated with both greater levels of fiscal transparency and increases in fiscal transparency during the sample period. Political polarization and past fiscal conditions, in particular state government debt and budget imbalance, also appear to affect the level of transparency.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Alt & David Dreyer Lassen & Shanna Rose, 2006. "The Causes of Fiscal Transparency: Evidence from the American States," EPRU Working Paper Series 06-02, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:06-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
    11. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2009. "Transparency and Economic Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1023-1048.
    12. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275509, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
    14. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Beetsma, Roel & Debrun, Xavier & Sloof, Randolph, 2017. "The political economy of fiscal transparency and independent fiscal councils," CEPR Discussion Papers 12181, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:222-235 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Timothy C. Irwin, 2015. "Defining The Government'S Debt And Deficit," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 711-732, September.
    4. Alex Hathaway & Carolyn Bourdeaux & Emily Franklin, 2019. "Fiscal Transparency and Accountability," Center for State and Local Finance Working Paper Series cslf1912, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    5. Nancy W. Hudspeth & David F. Merriman & Richard F. Dye & Andrew W. Crosby, 2015. "Do Troubled Times Invite Cloudy Budget Reporting? The Determinants of General Fund Expenditure Share in U.S. States," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 68-89, December.
    6. Amoroso Nicolás, 2008. "Transparency and Numeric Rules in the Budgeting Process: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2008-13, Banco de México.
    7. Schelker, Mark, 2012. "Auditor expertise: Evidence from the public sector," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 432-435.
    8. Heidi Jane Smith & Isabel Melguizo, 2019. "Over indebted Subnational Mexico: Does political polarization affect debt policy decisions?," Working Paper Series Sobre México 2019001, Sobre México. Temas en economía.
    9. Baldi, Guido & Forster, Stephan, 2019. "Political Budget Cycles: Evidence from Swiss Cantons," EconStor Preprints 195930, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    10. Alt, James & Lassen, David Dreyer & Wehner, Joachim, 2014. "It Isn't Just about Greece: Domestic Politics, Transparency and Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(04), pages 707-716, October.
    11. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:131-144 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nicoló Andreula & Alberto Chong, 2016. "Do good institutions improve fiscal transparency?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 241-263, August.
    13. Mark Schelker, 2012. "The influence of auditor term length and term limits on US state general obligation bond ratings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 27-49, January.
    14. Yves M. Tehou TEKENG & Mesbah Fathy SHARAF, 2015. "Fiscal Transparency, Measurement and Determinants: Evidence from 27 Developing Countries," Journal of Economics and Political Economy, KSP Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 69-91, March.
    15. Eiji Yamamura & Haruo Kondoh, 2013. "Government Transparency And Expenditure In The Rent-Seeking Industry: The Case Of Japan For 1998–2004," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 635-647, July.
    16. Schelker, Mark, 2018. "Lame ducks and divided government: How voters control the unaccountable," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 131-144.
    17. Lorenzo Cicatiello & Elina Simone & Giuseppe Lucio Gaeta, 2017. "Political determinants of fiscal transparency: a panel data empirical investigation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 315-336, November.
    18. Wehner, Joachim & de Renzio, Paolo, 2013. "Citizens, Legislators, and Executive Disclosure: The Political Determinants of Fiscal Transparency," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 96-108.
    19. repec:eee:ecmode:v:79:y:2019:i:c:p:211-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:ipf:psejou:v:43:y:2019:i:2:p:115-139 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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