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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]

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  • Geys, Benny

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Geys, Benny, 2006. "Government weakness and electoral cycles in local public debt: evidence from Flemish municipalities
    [Regierungsschwäche und Wahlzyklen in Zeiten kommunaler Verschuldung: das Beispiel flämischer Kom
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2006-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200606
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/51096/1/52658193X.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Weakness and Local Public Debt Development in Flemish Municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(4), pages 395-422, August.
    2. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, April.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:01:p:108-120_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
    5. 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 367-388, July.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 333-350, September.
    8. Per Tovmo & Torberg Falch, 2002. "The flypaper effect and political strength," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 153-170, July.
    9. 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.
    10. Boix, Carles, 1997. "Privatizing the Public Business Sector in the Eighties: Economic Performance, Partisan Responses and Divided Governments," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(04), pages 473-496, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Budget Cycles; local public debt; political fragmentation; elections; municipalities;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H74 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Borrowing

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