IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Costs and Benefits of Balanced Budget Rules: Lessons from a Political Economy Model of Fiscal Policy

Listed author(s):
  • Marina Azzimonti
  • Marco Battaglini
  • Stephen Coate

This paper analyzes the impact of a balanced budget rule that requires that legislators do not run deficits in the political economy model of Battaglini and Coate (2008). The main finding is that the rule leads to a gradual reduction in the level of public debt. Legislators reduce debt in periods when the demand for public goods is relatively low. They do so because the rule, by restricting future fiscal policies, raises the expected costs of carrying debt. Whether the rule increases citizen welfare depends on a comparison of the benefits of a lower debt burden with the costs of greater volatility in taxes and less responsive public good provision. A quantitative version of the model is developed in which costs and benefits can be evaluated. A welfare loss results if the debt level when the rule is imposed lies in the support of the long-run distribution associated with the unconstrained equilibrium.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://marina-azzimonti.com/papers/bbrwallis9.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Stony Brook University, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 15-03.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:15-03
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384

Phone: (631)632-7540
Fax: (631)632-7516
Web page: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/economics/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as
in new window


  1. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Francisco Roch, 2012. "Fiscal rules and the sovereign default premium," Working Paper 12-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  2. Cole, Harold L & Dow, James & English, William B, 1995. "Default, Settlement, and Signalling: Lending Resumption in a Reputational Model of Sovereign Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 365-385, May.
  3. Marina Halac & Pierre Yared, 2015. "Fiscal Rules and Discretion in a World Economy," NBER Working Papers 21492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
  5. Shanna Rose, 2006. "Do fiscal rules dampen the political business cycle?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 407-431, September.
  6. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation, and Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 201-236, March.
  7. Barseghyan, Levon & Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2013. "Fiscal policy over the real business cycle: A positive theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(6), pages 2223-2265.
  8. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
  9. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of fiscal rules in the US states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 101-117, January.
  10. Chari, V V & Christiano, Lawrence J & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1994. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 617-652, August.
  11. Marina Halac & Pierre Yared, 2014. "Fiscal Rules and Discretion Under Persistent Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1557-1614, 09.
  12. Buchanan, James M., 1995. "Clarifying Confusion About the Balanced Budget Amendment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 347-355, September.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Balanced Budgets and Business Cycles: Evidence From the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(4), pages 715-732, December.
  16. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-971, October.
  17. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1996. "European versus American Perspectives on Balanced-Budget Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 408-413, May.
  18. Henning Bohn & Robert P. Inman, "undated". "Balanced Budget Rules and Public Deficits: Evidence from the U.S. States (Reprint 060)," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 10-96, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  19. T. Renee Bowen & Ying Chen & H?lya Eraslan, 2014. "Mandatory versus Discretionary Spending: The Status Quo Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 2941-2974, October.
  20. 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.
  21. Patrick Bolton & Howard Rosenthal, 2002. "Political Intervention in Debt Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1103-1134, October.
  22. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  23. Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez, 2010. "The politics of sovereign defaults," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 3Q, pages 291-317.
  24. Poterba, James M, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Policy in the U.S. States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 395-400, May.
  25. William A. Niskanen, 1992. "The Case for a New Fiscal Constitution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 13-24, Spring.
  26. Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 335-357, April.
  27. David R. Stockman, 2001. "Balanced-Budget Rules: Welfare Loss and Optimal Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 438-459, July.
  28. S. Rao Aiyagari & Albert Marcet & Thomas J. Sargent & Juha Seppala, 2002. "Optimal Taxation without State-Contingent Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1220-1254, December.
  29. Buchanan, James M., 1995. "Clarifying Confusion About the Balanced Budget Amendment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 347-55, September.
  30. von Hagen, Jurgen, 1991. "A note on the empirical effectiveness of formal fiscal restraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 199-210, March.
  31. Azzimonti, Marina & de Francisco, Eva & Krusell, Per, 2008. "Production subsidies and redistribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 73-99, September.
  32. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-417, June.
  33. Yilin Hou & Daniel Smith, 2010. "Do state balanced budget requirements matter? Testing two explanatory frameworks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 57-79, October.
  34. Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Balanced Budgets and Business Cycles: Evidence from the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 715-32, December.
  35. Robert P. Inman, 1996. "Do Balanced Budget Rules Work? U.S. Experience and Possible Lessons for the EMU," NBER Working Papers 5838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. 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.
  37. Rose, Shanna, 2010. "Institutions and Fiscal Sustainability," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 63(4), pages 807-837, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:15-03. 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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.