IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/zewdip/13038.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Direct democracy and local public finances under cooperative federalism

Author

Listed:
  • Asatryan, Zareh
  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan
  • Grigoriadis, Theocharis
  • Heinemann, Friedrich

Abstract

This paper exploits the introduction of the right of referenda at the local level in the German state of Bavaria in 1995 to study the fiscal effects of direct democracy. In the first part of the paper, we establish the relationship between referenda activity and fiscal performance by using a new dataset containing information on all 2500 voter initiatives between 1995 to 2011. This selection on observables approach, however, suffers from obvious endogeneity problems in this application. The main part of the paper exploits population dependent discontinuities in the signature and quorum requirements of referenda to implement a regression discontinuity design (RDD). To safeguard against co-treatments that might affect fiscal outcomes simultaneously at the same thresholds, we validate our results by extending the RDD approach to a difference-in-discontinuity (DiD) design. By studying direct legislation in an archetypical cooperative federation as Germany, our paper extends the literature to a novel institutional setting. The results indicate that in our setting - and in contrast to most of the evidence from Switzerland and the US - direct democracy causes an expansion of local government budgets.

Suggested Citation

  • Asatryan, Zareh & Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Grigoriadis, Theocharis & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2013. "Direct democracy and local public finances under cooperative federalism," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-038, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13038
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/76726/1/751305480.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    2. Sergio Galletta & Mario Jametti, 2012. "How to Tame two Leviathans? Revisiting the Effect of Direct Democracy on Local Public Expenditure," CESifo Working Paper Series 3982, CESifo.
    3. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Are fiscal adjustments less successful in decentralized governments?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 115-123, March.
    4. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2012. "Does the size of the legislature affect the size of government? Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 269-278.
    5. Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach & Christoph A Schaltegger, 2004. "On Government Centralization and Fiscal Referendums: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Switzerland," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200419, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. repec:cto:journl:v:20:y:2000:i:2:p:255-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & von Hagen, Jurgen, 2007. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 338-359, June.
    8. Björn Tyrefors Hinnerich & Per Pettersson‐Lidbom, 2014. "Democracy, Redistribution, and Political Participation: Evidence From Sweden 1919–1938," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(3), pages 961-993, May.
    9. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Weerapana, Akila, 2004. "The impact of voter initiatives on economic activity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 207-226, March.
    10. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2011. "Does Direct Democracy Reduce the Size of Government? New Evidence from Historical Data, 1890–2000," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1252-1280, December.
    11. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
    12. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    13. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, April.
    14. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2011. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," Working Papers 397, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    15. Dale Bails and Margie A. Tieslau, 2000. "The Impact of Fiscal Constitutions on State and Local Expenditures," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 20(2), Fall.
    16. Peter Egger & Marko Koethenbuerger, 2010. "Government Spending and Legislative Organization: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Germany," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 200-212, October.
    17. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    18. Robert Salvino & Michael T. Tasto & Geoffrey K. Turnbull, 2012. "A direct test of direct democracy: New England town meetings," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(18), pages 2393-2402, June.
    19. Jeffrey Zax, 1989. "Initiatives and government expenditures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 267-277, December.
    20. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    21. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2012. "The flypaper effect: evidence from a natural experiment in Hesse," MPRA Paper 37144, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
    23. Robert P. Inman, 1996. "Do Balanced Budget Rules Work? U.S. Experience and Possible Lessons for the EMU," NBER Working Papers 5838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Asatryan, Zareh & Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Heinemann, Friedrich, 2017. "The effect of direct democracy on the level and structure of local taxes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 38-55.
    2. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2015. "Signature requirements and citizen initiatives: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 43-56, January.
    3. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2016. "Electoral competition and endogenous political institutions: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 43-61.
    4. Garmann, Sebastian, 2015. "Elected or appointed? How the nomination scheme of the city manager influences the effects of government fragmentation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 26-42.
    5. Stephan Geschwind & Felix Roesel, 2021. "Taxation under Direct Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 9166, CESifo.
    6. Carlos Sanz, 2017. "Direct democracy and government size: evidence from Spain," Working Papers 1709, Banco de España.
    7. Kantorowicz, Jarosław, 2017. "Electoral systems and fiscal policy outcomes: Evidence from Poland," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 36-60.
    8. Joaquín Artés & Ignacio Jurado, 2018. "Government fragmentation and fiscal deficits: a regression discontinuity approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 175(3), pages 367-391, June.
    9. Asatryan, Zareh, 2014. "The indirect effects of direct democracy: Local government size and non-budgetary voter initiatives," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-004, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    10. Sanz, Carlos, 2017. "The Effect of Electoral Systems on Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Political Science Research and Methods, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 689-710, October.
    11. Kristof De Witte & Benny Geys, 2015. "Strategic Housing Policy, Migration and Sorting around Population Thresholds," CESifo Working Paper Series 5639, CESifo.
    12. Florian Ade & Ronny Freier, 2011. "When Can We Trust Population Thresholds in Regression Discontinuity Designs?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1136, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Daniel Höhmann, 2017. "The effect of legislature size on public spending: evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 173(3), pages 345-367, December.
    14. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier, 2013. "Signature Requirements and Citizen Initiatives: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1311, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Zareh Asatryan, 2016. "The indirect effects of direct democracy: local government size and non-budgetary voter initiatives in Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 580-601, June.
    16. Britto, Diogo G.C. & Fiorin, Stefano, 2020. "Corruption and legislature size: Evidence from Brazil," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    17. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, April.
    18. Veronica Grembi & Tommaso Nannicini & Ugo Troiano, 2011. "Policy Responses to Fiscal Restraints: A Difference-in-Discontinuities Design," Working Papers 397, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    19. De Witte, Kristof & Geys, Benny & Schönhage, Nanna Lauritz, 2018. "Strategic public policy around population thresholds," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 46-58.
    20. Sebastian Garmann, 2014. "The causal effect of coalition governments on fiscal policies: evidence from a Regression Kink Design," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(36), pages 4490-4507, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    direct democracy; fiscal policy; regression discontinuity; Bavaria;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:13038. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zemande.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zemande.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.