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Presidential Leadership and the Reform of Fiscal Policy: Learning from Reagan's Role in TRA 86

  • Robert P. Inman
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    The institutions of federal fiscal-policy making seem incapable of confronting the central domestic issues of the day. This paper presents a model of congressional decision-making in which legislators' incentives are contrary to fiscal efficiency. In such an environment, a "strong" president may be able to lead congress away from inefficient budgets. The paper specifies a model of what constitutes a strong president, namely a president with resources to build congressional coalitions and a credible veto to force "all-or-nothing" choices between reform and the inefficient status quo. President Reagan's role in the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 is detailed in the light of this model; the analysis reveals the role of executive resources and the importance of the veto strategy to major fiscal reform.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4395.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4395.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1993
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4395
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    1. Gale, W.G. & Scholz, J.K., 1990. "Iras And Household Savings," Working papers 9009, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    2. Lawrence H. Goulder & Philippe Thalmann, 1990. "Approaches to Efficient Capital Taxation: Leveling the Playing Field vs.Living by the Golden Rule," NBER Working Papers 3559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 239, David K. Levine.
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    6. Weitzman, Martin L., 1974. "Free access vs private ownership as alternative systems for managing common property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 225-234, June.
    7. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1991. "The Role of Federal Taxation in the Supply of Municipal Bonds: Evidence From Municipal Governments," NBER Working Papers 3891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Roberts, Judith A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L. & Shapiro, Perry, 1988. "A test for efficiency in the supply of public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 289-307, April.
    9. Auerbach, Alan J., 1992. "Taxes and Spending in the Age of Deficits: A View from Washington and Academe," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(3), pages 239-42, September.
    10. Ted Bergstrom & Judy Roberts & Dan Rubinfeld & Perry Shapiro, 1988. "A Test for Efficiency in the Supply of Local Public Education," Papers _036, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
    11. Feldstein, Martin & Friedman, Bernard, 1977. "Tax subsidies, the rational demand for insurance and the health care crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 155-178, April.
    12. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    13. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    14. Philipson, Tomas J & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1996. " Equilibrium and Efficiency in an Organized Vote Market," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(3-4), pages 245-65, December.
    15. Robert P. Inman, 1993. "Local interests, central leadership, and the passage of TRA86," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 156-180.
    16. Carter, John R & Schap, David, 1990. "Line-Item Veto: Where Is Thy Sting?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 103-18, Spring.
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