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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. Case, Anne, 2001. "Election goals and income redistribution: Recent evidence from Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 405-423, March.
  2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2010. "On the Link Between Fiscal Decentralization and Public Debt in OECD Countries," MPRA Paper 21599, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2006. "The Effects of Partisan Alignment on the Allocation of Intergovernmental Transfers. Differences-in-Differences Estimates for Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 1855, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Robinson, James A & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "A Political Economy Theory of the Soft Budget Constraint," CEPR Discussion Papers 5274, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  6. Kothenburger, Marko, 2007. "Ex-post redistribution in a federation: Implications for corrective policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 481-496, April.
  7. Daniel Bergvall & Claire Charbit & Dirk-Jan Kraan & Olaf Merk, 2005. "Intergovernmental Transfers and Decentralised Public Spending," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 5(4), pages 111-158.
  8. Signe Krogstrup & Sébastien Wälti, 2008. "Do fiscal rules cause budgetary outcomes?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 123-138, July.
  9. Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
  10. Worthington, Andrew C & Dollery, Brian E, 1998. " The Political Determination of Intergovernmental Grants in Australia," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(3-4), pages 299-315, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Arulampalam, Wiji & Dasgupta, Sugato & Dhillon, Amrita & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2008. "Electoral Goals and Center-State Transfers: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 3376, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Ernesto Crivelli & Klaas Staal, 2008. "Size, Spillovers and Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_17, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  17. J�nos Kornai & Eric Maskin & G�rard Roland, 2003. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1095-1136, December.
  18. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-19, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Philip J. Grossman, 1987. "A Political Theory of Inter-Governmental Grants," School of Economics Working Papers 1987-06, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
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