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The Timing of Elections in Federations: A Disciplining Device against Soft Budget Constraints?

We introduce political economics into the soft budget constraint problem by asking if the timing of elections has the potential to harden budget constraints. Specifically, we ask under which circumstances the soft budget constraint problem is worse - with synchronized elections, i.e. simultaneous central and regional office terms, or with staggered elections, i.e. terms of office that do not coincide. We find that staggered elections clearly improve fiscal discipline at the local level as well as welfare

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 10036.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:10036
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  1. Marko Köthenbürger, 2006. "Ex-Post Redistribution in a Federation: Implications for Corrective Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1754, CESifo Group Munich.
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  3. Martin Besfamille & Ben Lockwood, 2008. "Bailouts In Federations: Is A Hard Budget Constraint Always Best?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 577-593, 05.
  4. Andrew Worthington & Brian Dollery, 1998. "The political determination of intergovernmental grants in Australia," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 299-315, March.
  5. Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2006. "The effects of partisan alignment on the allocation of intergovernmental transfers. Differences-in-differences estimates for Spain," Working Papers 2006-09, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  6. Janos Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gerard Roland, 2002. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Economics Working Papers 0019, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  7. Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
  8. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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  10. Anne Case, 1997. "Election Goals and Income Redistribution: Recent Evidence From Albania," Working Papers 227, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  11. James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "A Political Economy Theory of the Soft Budget Constraint," NBER Working Papers 12133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Arulampalam, Wiji & Dasgupta, Sugato & Dhillon, Amrita & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2009. "Electoral goals and center-state transfers: A theoretical model and empirical evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 103-119, January.
  13. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2010. "On the link between fiscal decentralization and public debt in OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 351-378, December.
  14. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, . "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," Working Papers 97045, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  15. Ernesto Crivelli & Klaas Staal, 2013. "Size, spillovers and soft budget constraints," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 338-356, April.
  16. 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.
  17. Pereira, Paulo T C, 1996. "A Politico-economic Approach to Intergovernmental Lump-Sum Grants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(1-2), pages 185-201, July.
  18. Mark Hallerberg & Guntram Wolff, 2008. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia in EMU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 379-396, September.
  19. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  20. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-19, July.
  21. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Madies, Thierry & Taugourdeau, Emmanuelle, 2006. "Does tax competition soften regional budget constraint?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 230-236, February.
  22. Philip J. Grossman, 1987. "A Political Theory of Inter-Governmental Grants," School of Economics Working Papers 1987-06, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  23. Jonathan A. Rodden & Gunnar S. Eskeland (ed.), 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182297, December.
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