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Debt Bailouts and Constitutions

  • Emanuel Kohlscheen

    (Economics Department, University of Warwick.)

A demand based theory of sub-national debt bailouts is presented. It is shown that revenue sharing (RS) arrangements alter the demand for bailouts among politicians with regional constituencies as a bailout usually implies a shift of taxation to the federal tier. Automatic RS may lead to the formation of pro-bailout coalitions formed by indebted states and states that are net recipients of the RS arrangement. Also, RS can act as a commitment device for compensating payments among state representatives, making a bailout politically rational. The model shows that the state debt bailouts approved by the Brazilian Senate prior to the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act were fully consistent with politicians that maximize the proceeds accruing to their constituencies.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_862.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 862.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:862
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Thomas Courchene, 1999. "Subnational Budgetary and Stabilization Policies in Canada and Australia," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 301-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas Aronsson & Magnus Wikstrom, 2003. "Optimal taxation and risk-sharing arrangements in an economic federation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 104-120, January.
  3. Mariano Tommasi & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2003. "Intergovernmental Transfers and Fiscal Behavior: Insurance versus Aggregate Discipline," Working Papers 60, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2003.
  4. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
  5. Seitz, Helmut, 1999. "Subnational government bailouts in Germany," ZEI Working Papers B 20-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-46, May.
  7. Janos Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gerard Roland, 2002. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Economics Working Papers 0019, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 979-1009, October.
  9. Inman, Robert P. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1996. "Designing tax policy in federalist economies: An overview," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 307-334, June.
  10. Robin W. Boadway & Frank R. Flatters, 1982. "Efficiency and Equalization Payments in a Federal System of Government: A Synthesis and Extension of Recent Results," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(4), pages 613-33, November.
  11. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  12. Bucovetsky, Sam, 1998. "Federalism, equalization and risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 301-328, March.
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