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The Line Item Veto and Public Sector Budgets: Evidence from the States

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Abstract

Recent proposals assume that endowing the U.S. President with a line item veto will reduce spending. Analysis of a rich set of state budget data indicates that long run budgets are not altered by an item veto. In the short run, the item veto's potency is contingent upon the political setting. Governors with political incentives to use an item veto alter spending and revenues in a statistically significant and quantitatively important fashion. These results suggest that adoption of the line item veto, in general, is unlikely to reduce the size of the federal government.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1988. "The Line Item Veto and Public Sector Budgets: Evidence from the States," NBER Working Papers 2531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2531
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    1. Steven Craig & Robert P. Inman, 1986. "Education, Welfare and the "New" Federalism: State Budgeting in a Federalist Public Economy," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in State and Local Public Finance, pages 187-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    2. Vincent C. Blackburn & Richard Gerlach & Vasilis Sarafidis, 2007. "Dynamic Budgetary Adjustments in the Australian State Government Finance Sector: An Econometric Approach," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 3(2), pages 125-159, July.
    3. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Capital budgets, borrowing rules, and state capital spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 165-187, February.
    4. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1998. "Vertical externalities in tax setting: evidence from gasoline and cigarettes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 383-398, December.
    5. Francesco Lagona & Fabio Padovano, 2007. "A nonlinear principal component analysis of the relationship between budget rules and fiscal performance in the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 401-436, March.
    6. Dearden, James A & Husted, Thomas A, 1993. "Do Governors Get What They Want?: An Alternative Examination of the Line-Item Veto," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 707-723, December.
    7. Linda Gonçalves Veiga & Francisco José Veiga, 2014. "Determinants of Portuguese local governments’ indebtedness," NIPE Working Papers 16/2014, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    8. Toke Aidt & Francesco Giovannoni, 2011. "Critical decisions and constitutional rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(2), pages 219-268, July.
    9. Bohn, Henning & Inman, Robert P., 1996. "Balanced-budget rules and public deficits: evidence from the U.S. states," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 13-76, December.
    10. Dilla, Diana, 2017. "Staatsverschuldung und Verschuldungsmentalität
      [Public Debt and Debt Mentality]
      ," MPRA Paper 79432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:kap:pubcho:v:175:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0519-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    13. Leandro De Magalhães & Lucas Ferrero, 2015. "Separation of powers and the tax level in the U.S. states," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 598-619, October.
    14. Heinemann, Friedrich & Osterloh, Steffen & Kalb, Alexander, 2014. "Sovereign risk premia: The link between fiscal rules and stability culture," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 110-127.
    15. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2014:i:1:p:19108838 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Do Budget Rules Work?," NBER Working Papers 5550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. George Crowley, 2012. "Spatial dependence in constitutional constraints: the case of US states," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 134-165, June.
    18. Reza Baqir, 2001. "Government Spending, Legislature Size, and the Executive Veto," IMF Working Papers 01/208, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Alberto F. Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 13-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
    21. Husted, Thomas A & Kenny, Lawrence W, 1997. "The Effect of the Expansion of the Voting Franchise on the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 54-82, February.
    22. Francesc Pujol, 2009. "Measuring US Presidents Political Commitment for Fiscal Discipline between 1920 and 2008," Faculty Working Papers 01/09, School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra.
    23. Arnt Hopland, 2013. "Central government control and fiscal adjustment: Norwegian evidence," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 185-203, May.

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