Political budget cycles and the organization of political parties
This paper introduces a new explanation for political budget cycles: politicians have stronger incentives to increase spending around elections in the presence of younger political parties. Previous research has shown that political budget cycles are larger when voters are uninformed about politician characteristics and when politicians are less credible. The effects of party age can be traced to organizational differences between younger and older parties that also affect voter information and politician credibility. Parties organized around particular individuals, rather than around policy labels or a party machine, are less likely to survive the departure of party leaders, to adopt organizational attributes that promote voter information and political credibility, and to limit political budget cycles. Previous research has also shown larger political budget cycles in younger democracies. Evidence presented here indicates that party age accounts for this effect.
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