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Does the Broad Public Want to Consolidate Public Debt? – The Role of Fairness and of Policy Credibility

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Abstract

The paper tests selected long-standing hypotheses about why voters support or oppose fiscal consolidation. Deviating from most of the empirical literature which mainly focuses on cross-sectional and time series evidence, this paper employs data from a public opinion survey that has been conducted in spring 2010 in Austria. The results show (i) that voters are fiscally prudent, that (ii) they behave rationally in the sense that self-interest matters, that (iii) they care for the next generation (this effect is surprisingly small), that (iv) the distributional fairness among the current generation is as at least as important as the intergenerational aspect and that (v) the low credibility of medium-term fiscal policy plans can be a serious impediment to voters’ support for consolidation. These results bear direct implications on the design of fiscal consolidation plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmut Stix, 2011. "Does the Broad Public Want to Consolidate Public Debt? – The Role of Fairness and of Policy Credibility," Working Papers 167, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
  • Handle: RePEc:onb:oenbwp:167
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:1:p:42-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Abel Bojar, 2016. "The Electoral Advantage of the Left in Times of Fiscal Adjustment," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 103, European Institute, LSE.
    3. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "Political Leaders' Socioeconomic Background and Public Budget Deficits: Evidence from OECD Countries," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 55-78, March.
    4. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos & Ioanna C. Bardakas, 2015. "Does Fairness Matter for the Success of Fiscal Consolidation?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 197-219, May.
    5. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2017. "Public Attitudes toward Fiscal Consolidation: Evidence from a Representative German Population Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 42-69, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers halshs-01015756, HAL.
    8. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Hake, Mariya & Stix, Helmut, 2013. "Households’ foreign currency borrowing in Central and Eastern Europe," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1880-1897.
    9. Dilla, Diana, 2017. "Staatsverschuldung und Verschuldungsmentalität
      [Public Debt and Debt Mentality]
      ," MPRA Paper 79432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. 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.
    11. Dixon, R. & Griffiths, W. & Lim, G.C., 2014. "Lay people’s models of the economy: A study based on surveys of consumer sentiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 13-20.
    12. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2014. "Public Preferences for Government Spending Priorities: Survey Evidence from Germany," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201457, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    13. 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.
    14. Étienne Farvaque & Martial Foucault & Marcelin Joanis, 2015. "L’endettement public des provinces canadiennes : Les règles d’équilibre budgétaire sont-elles efficaces?," CIRANO Working Papers 2015s-10, CIRANO.
    15. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:4:p:622-640 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Hayo, Bernd & Neumeier, Florian, 2017. "The (In)validity of the Ricardian equivalence theorem–findings from a representative German population survey," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 162-174.
    17. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2016. "The debt brake in the eyes of the German population," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 139-159, January.
    18. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality," Working Papers hal-01015439, HAL.
    19. Pierre MANDON, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers 201414, CERDI.
    20. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2014. "The law of large districts: How district magnitude affects the quality of political representation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 128-140.
    21. Pierre Mandon, 2014. "Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion," Working Papers halshs-01015760, HAL.
    22. Stracca, Livio & Kalbhenn, Anna, 2015. "Does fiscal austerity affect public opinion?," Working Paper Series 1774, European Central Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public debt; fiscal adjustment; political economy; fairness; credibility;

    JEL classification:

    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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