Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States
Most states (Vermont is the exception) have a constitutional or statutory limitation restricting their ability to run deficits in the state's general fund. Balanced budget limitations may be either prospective or beginning-of-the-year requirements or retrospective or end-of-the-year requirements. Using budget data from a panel of 47 U.S. states for the period 1970-1991, the analysis finds that states with end-of-the-year (not prospective) balance requirements enforced as constitutional (not statutory) constraints by an independently elected (not politically appointed) state supreme court do have significant positive effects on a state's general fund surplus. The surplus is accumulated through cuts in spending, not through tax increases. It is saved in a state `rainy day' fund in anticipation of future general fund deficits. In contrast, prospective requirements, statutory end-of-the-year requirements, or constitutional end-of-the- year requirements enforced by a politically appointed court do not significantly constrain general fund deficit behavior. Finally, we find little evidence that the constraints `force' deficits into other fiscal accounts.
|Date of creation:||Apr 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as 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.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1995. "Restraining Yourself: The Implications of Fiscal Rules for Economic Stabilization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 32-48, March.
- Inman, Robert P & Fitts, Michael A, 1990. "Political Institutions and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Historical Record," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 79-132.
- Campbell, J.Y. & Perron, P., 1991.
"Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomics should know about unit roots,"
360, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
- John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1991, Volume 6, pages 141-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Y. Campbell & Pierre Perron, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots," NBER Technical Working Papers 0100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Campbell, John & Perron, Pierre, 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know about Unit Roots," Scholarly Articles 3374863, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995.
"Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels,"
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics
9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- Poterba, James M., 1995. "Balanced Budget Rules and Fiscal Policy: Evidence From the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 329-36, September.
- Rivlin, Alice M, 1987. "Economics and the Political Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 1-10, March.
- 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.
- Edward M. Gramlich, 1991. "The 1991 State and Local Fiscal Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 249-288.
- Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1988. "The line item veto and public sector budgets : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 269-292, August.
- Edward M. Gramlich, 1978. "State and Local Budgets the Day after It Rained: Why Is the Surplus So High?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(1), pages 191-216.
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Christ, Carl F, 1979. "On Fiscal and Monetary Policies and the Government Budget Restraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 526-38, September.
- Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
- Bayoumi, Tamim & Goldstein, Morris & Woglom, Geoffrey, 1995. "Do Credit Markets Discipline Sovereign Borrowers? Evidence from the U.S. States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1046-59, November.
- Inman, Robert P., 1982. "Public employee pensions and the local labor budget," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 49-71, October.
- 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.
- James M. Poterba, 1993. "State Responses to Fiscal Crisis: The Effects of Budgetary Institutionsand Politics," NBER Working Papers 4375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert P. Inman, 1995. "Do you know how much money is in your public purse?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Jul, pages 19-30.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5533. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.