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Revenue decentralization, central oversight and the political budget cycle: Evidence from Israel

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  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan
  • Blesse, Sebastian
  • Brender, Adi
  • Reingewertz, Yaniv

Abstract

This paper examines whether revenue decentralization and direct external financial supervision affect the incidence and strength of political budget cycles, using a panel of Israeli municipalities during the period 1999-2009. We find that high dependence on central government transfers - as reflected in a low share of locally raised revenues in the municipality's budget - exacerbates political budget cycles, while tight monitoring - exercised through central government appointment of external accountants to debt accumulating municipalities - eliminates them. These results suggest that political budget cycles can result from fiscal institutions that create soft budget constraints: that is, where incumbents and rational voters can expect that the costs of pre-election expansions will be partly covered later by the central government.

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  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Blesse, Sebastian & Brender, Adi & Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2015. "Revenue decentralization, central oversight and the political budget cycle: Evidence from Israel," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-046, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:15046
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    Cited by:

    1. Manjhi, Ganesh & Keswani Mehra, Meeta, 2016. "Center-State Political Transfer Cycles in India," MPRA Paper 70784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ben-Bassat, Avi & Dahan, Momi & Klor, Esteban F., 2016. "Is centralization a solution to the soft budget constraint problem?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 57-75.
    3. Jäger, Kai, 2016. "The Role of Regime Type in the Political Economy of Foreign Reserve Accumulation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 79-96.
    4. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:55-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:13-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Monika Banaszewska & Ivo Bischoff, 2018. "Grants-in-aid and the prospect of re-election: The impact of EU funds on mayoral elections in Poland," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201822, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:75-84 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political budget cycles; soft budget constraint; local governments; decentralization;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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