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Do Leaders Affect Government Spending Priorities?

Author

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  • Adi Brender
  • Allan Drazen

Abstract

Since a key function of competitive elections is to allow voters to express their policy preferences, one might take it for granted that when leadership changes, policy change follows. Using a dataset we created on the composition of central government expenditures in a panel of 71 democracies over 1972-2003, we test whether changes in leadership induce significant changes in spending composition, as well as looking at the effect of other political and economic variables. We find that the replacement of a leader tends to have no significant effect on expenditure composition in the short-run. This remains true after controlling for a host of political and economic variables. However, over the medium-term leadership changes are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition, mostly in developed countries. We also find that in established democracies, election years are associated with larger changes in expenditure composition while new democracies, which were found by Brender and Drazen (2005) to raise their overall level of expenditures in election years, tend not to have such changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2009. "Do Leaders Affect Government Spending Priorities?," NBER Working Papers 15368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15368
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15368.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vojtěch Roženský, 2012. "Mandatorní výdaje a flexibilita fiskální politiky v ČR
      [Mandatory Expenditure and the Flexibility of Fiscal Policy in the Czech Republic]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(1), pages 40-57.
    2. Marcela Eslava, 2011. "The Political Economy Of Fiscal Deficits: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 645-673, September.
    3. Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2016. "Debt Brakes in the German States: Governments’ Rhetoric and Actions," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(2), pages 253-275, May.
    4. Burke Paul J., 2012. "Economic Growth and Political Survival," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-43, March.
    5. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Dominik Hecker & Dano Meiske & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2016. "Schuldenbremsen in den deutschen Bundesländern: Worte und Taten der Landesregierungen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(02), pages 14-22, January.
    7. Hayo, Bernd & Neumeier, Florian, 2014. "Political leaders' socioeconomic background and fiscal performance in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 184-205.
    8. Niklas Potrafke, 2006. "Political Effects on the Allocation of Public Expenditures: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 653, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob de Haan, 2013. "Conditional Election and Partisan Cycles in Government Support to the Agricultural Sector: An Empirical Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(4), pages 793-818.

    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

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