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Expert Politicians, Electoral Control, and Fiscal Restraints

Author

Listed:
  • Uwe Dulleck

    () (QUT)

  • Berthold U Wigger

    () (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

Abstract

Fiscal restraints have been argued to force today's governments to internalize the externalities that result from extensive borrowing on future electorates and governments as well as on other countries by causing fiscal instability. In this article we provide an alternative argument for fiscal restraints which is based on an agency perspective on government. A budget maximizing politician is better informed than the electorate about the necessary spending to ensure the states ability to provide services for the economy. In this respect, the politician is an expert in the meaning of the credence good literature. The electorate, being able to observe the budget but not the necessary level of spending, will reelect a government if its budget does not exceed a critical level. A fiscal restraint limits the maximum spending a government will choose if the reelection level is not sufficient to ensure the state's ability to provide services to the economy. We determine when such a fiscal restraint improves voter welfare and discuss the role of the opposition in situations where very high levels of spending are required.

Suggested Citation

  • Uwe Dulleck & Berthold U Wigger, 2012. "Expert Politicians, Electoral Control, and Fiscal Restraints," NCER Working Paper Series 79, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:qut:auncer:2012_2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
    2. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    3. Uwe Dulleck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "The Economics of Credence Goods: On the Role of Liability, Verifiability, Reputation and Competition," Working Papers 2009-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    4. Toke Aidt & Francisco Veiga & Linda Veiga, 2011. "Election results and opportunistic policies: A new test of the rational political business cycle model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 21-44, July.
    5. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    6. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    7. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
    8. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral control; Fiscal restraints; Credence goods;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems

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