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Government weakness and electoral cycles in local public debt: evidence from Flemish municipalities
[Regierungsschwäche und Wahlzyklen in Zeiten kommunaler Verschuldung: das Beispiel flämischer Kommunen]

  • Geys, Benny

Empirical research on Political Business (and Budget) Cycles is more supportive for electoral cycles in policies than in macro-economic outcomes. But even pre-electoral policy cycles receive no unanimous confirmation. In the present paper, we give credence to recent arguments that this may be due to the disregard for the political, economic and institutional context in which politicians make policy decisions. Specifically, we argue that the level of political fragmentation of the government affects both the need for and possibility to engage in opportunistic policy cycles. An analysis of local public debt data for 296 Flemish municipalities provides empirical support for this contention.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2006-06.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200606
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  1. Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," CEPR Discussion Papers 269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Weakness and Local Public Debt Development in Flemish Municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 395-422, August.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Positive Theory of Discretionary Policy, the Cost of Democratic Government and the Benefits of a Constitution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 367-88, July.
  4. Huber, Gerald & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2003. " Government Strength, Power Dispersion in Governments and Budget Deficits in OECD-Countries: A Voting Power Approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 333-50, September.
  5. Ashworth, John & Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno, 2006. "Determinants of tax innovation: The case of environmental taxes in Flemish municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 223-247, March.
  6. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Per Tovmo & Torberg Falch, 2002. "The flypaper effect and political strength," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 153-170, 07.
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