IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/11862.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Cross-Section of Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Adi Brender
  • Allan Drazen

Abstract

Conventional wisdom is that good economic conditions or expansionary fiscal policy help incumbents get re-elected, but this has not been tested in a large cross-section of countries. We test these arguments in a sample of 74 countries over the period 1960-2003. We find no evidence that deficits help reelection in any group of countries -- developed and less developed, new and old democracies, countries with different government or electoral systems, and countries with different levels of democracy. In developed countries, especially old democracies, election-year deficits actually reduce the probability that a leader is reelected, with similar negative electoral effects of deficits in the earlier years of an incumbent's term in office. Higher growth rates of real GDP per-capita raise the probability of reelection only in the less developed countries and in new democracies, but voters are affected by growth over the leader's term in office rather than in the election year itself. Low inflation is rewarded by voters only in the developed countries. The effects we find are not only statistically significant, but also quite substantial quantitatively. We also suggest how the absence of a positive electoral effect of deficits can be consistent with the political deficit cycle found in new democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2005. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Cross-Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 11862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11862
    Note: EFG POL
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11862.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Brender, Adi & Drazen, Allan, 2005. "Political budget cycles in new versus established democracies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1271-1295, October.
    2. Fair, Ray C, 1978. "The Effect of Economic Events on Votes for President," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(2), pages 159-173, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Sam Peltzman, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-361.
    5. Robert J. Shiller, 1997. "Why Do People Dislike Inflation?," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 13-70, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
    8. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
    9. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti & José Tavares, 1998. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 197-266.
    11. Faust, Jon & Irons, John S., 1999. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 61-89, February.
    12. Paldam, Martin, 1979. " Is There an Election Cycle? A Comparative Study of National Accounts," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 323-342.
    13. Jon Faust & John S. Irons, 1996. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," International Finance Discussion Papers 572, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    14. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, September.
    15. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sakurai, Sergio N. & Menezes, Naercio A., 2008. "Fiscal policy and reelection in Brazilian municipalities," Insper Working Papers wpe_117, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    2. Marcela Eslava, 2006. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey," Research Department Publications 4487, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Khemani, Stuti & Wane, Waly, 2008. "Populist fiscal policy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4762, The World Bank.
    4. Dreher, Axel & Vaubel, Roland, 2009. "Foreign exchange intervention and the political business cycle: A panel data analysis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 755-775, September.
    5. Lora, Eduardo, 2008. "El futuro de los pactos fiscales en América Latina," Coediciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1310.
    6. Alex Luiz Ferreira & Sérgio Naruhiko Sakurai, 2013. "Personal charisma or the economy?: Macroeconomic indicators of presidential approval ratings in Brazil," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 14(3–4), pages 214-232.
    7. Paulo Arvate & Vladimir Ponczek, 2008. "Municipality secession, voter’s preference and persistence of power," Working Papers 08_07, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
    8. Arvate, Paulo Roberto & Avelino, George & Tavares, José, 2009. "Fiscal conservatism in a new democracy: "Sophisticated" versus "naïve" voters," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 125-127, February.
    9. Marco Buti & Alessandro Turrini & Paul Noord & Pietro Biroli, 2009. "Defying the ‘Juncker curse’: can reformist governments be re-elected?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 65-100, February.
    10. Carlos Eduardo Soares Gonçalves & Fernando Roberto Fenolio, 2007. "Ciclos Eleitorais E Política Monetária: Evidências Para O Brasil," Anais do XXXV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 35th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 107, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    11. Paulo Roberto Arvate & George Avelino & José A. Tavares, 2007. "Budget Deficits And Reelection Prospects: Voters As Fiscal Conservatives In A New Democracy," Anais do XXXV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 35th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 106, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    12. Hlavac, Marek, 2008. "Fundamental Tax Reform: The Growth and Utility Effects of a Revenue-Neutral Flat Tax," MPRA Paper 24241, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Sami Alpanda & Adam Honig, 2009. "The Impact of Central Bank Independence on Political Monetary Cycles in Advanced and Developing Nations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(7), pages 1365-1389, October.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political cycles and economic performance in OECD countries: empirical evidence from 1951–2006," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 155-179, January.
    2. Arnt Hopland, 2014. "Voter information and electoral outcomes: the Norwegian list of shame," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 233-255, October.
    3. Margarita Katsimi & Vassilis Sarantides, 2015. "Public investment and reelection prospects in developed countries," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 471-500, October.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Francesco Trebbi, 2006. "Who Adjusts and When?The Political Economy of Reforms," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(si), pages 1-1.
    5. Alesina, A. & Passalacqua, A., 2016. "The Political Economy of Government Debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2599-2651, Elsevier.
    6. Klein, Fabio Alvim & Sakurai, Sergio Naruhiko, 2015. "Term limits and political budget cycles at the local level: evidence from a young democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 21-36.
    7. Marcela Eslava, 2011. "The Political Economy Of Fiscal Deficits: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 645-673, September.
    8. Jorge M. Streb & Daniel Lema & Gustavo Torrens, 2009. "Checks and Balances on Political Budget Cycles: Cross‐Country Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 426-447, August.
    9. Vergne, Clémence, 2009. "Democracy, elections and allocation of public expenditures in developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 63-77, March.
    10. Ziogas, Thanasis & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2021. "Revisiting the political economy of fiscal adjustments," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    11. Kouvavas, Omiros, 2013. "Political Budget Cycles Revisited, the Case for Social Capital," MPRA Paper 57504, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Sep 2013.
    12. Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney, 2014. "Voting Suffrage and the Political Budget Cycle: Evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937," CESifo Working Paper Series 4614, CESifo.
    13. Aidt, Toke S. & Mooney, Graham, 2014. "Voting suffrage and the political budget cycle: Evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902–1937," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 53-71.
    14. Ganesh Manjhi & Meeta Keswani Mehra, 2019. "Dynamics of Political Budget Cycle," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 5(1), pages 135-158, March.
    15. Castro, Vítor & Martins, Rodrigo, 2018. "Politically driven cycles in fiscal policy: In depth analysis of the functional components of government expenditures," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 44-64.
    16. Marcela Eslava, 2006. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey," Research Department Publications 4487, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    17. 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.
    18. Potrafke, Niklas, 2010. "The growth of public health expenditures in OECD countries: Do government ideology and electoral motives matter?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 797-810, December.
    19. Toke Aidt & Graham Mooney, 2014. "Voter suffrage and the political budget cycle: evidence from the London Metropolitan Boroughs 1902-1937," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1401, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    20. Antoine Cazals & Pierre Mandon, 2015. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation of Leaders or Bias from Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers halshs-01238883, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11862. 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: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.