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Soft-Budget Constraints and Local Expenditures


  • Takero Doi

    (Faculty of Economics, Keio University)

  • Toshihiro Ihori

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)


This paper investigates how the soft budget constraint with grants from the central government to local governments tends to exaggerate inefficient local expenditures. We first develop a theoretical model, which explains soft budget problem in a multi-government setting. We then show that in Japan's case local governments implemented inefficient public investments and hence the bad outcome of soft budget problem occurred in the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Takero Doi & Toshihiro Ihori, 2006. "Soft-Budget Constraints and Local Expenditures," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-422, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2006cf422

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Motohiro Sato, 2002. "Intergovernmental Transfers, Governance Structure and Fiscal Decentralization," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 53(1), pages 55-76.
    2. Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-345.
    3. Wildasin, David E., 2004. "The Institutions of Federalism: Toward an Analytical Framework," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 247-272, June.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
    5. Nobuo Akai & Motohiro Sato, 2005. "leadership meets soft budget," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-391, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    6. DelRossi, Alison F. & Inman, Robert P., 1999. "Changing the price of pork: the impact of local cost sharing on legislators' demands for distributive public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 247-273, February.
    7. Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
    8. Michael Keen, 1998. "Vertical Tax Externalities in the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 454-485, September.
    9. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miyazaki, Tomomi, 2009. "Public investment and business cycles: The case of Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 419-426, September.
    2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2012. "Soft budget constraints and strategic interactions in subnational borrowing: Evidence from the German States, 1975–2005," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 114-127.
    3. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Ogawa, Hikaru, 2015. "Fiscal adjustment in Japanese municipalities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 1053-1068.
    4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2014. "Bailouts and austerity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 212, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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