The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey

Oct 2006
This paper surveys the recent literature on the political economy of fiscal policy, in particular the accumulation of government debt. The authors examine three possible determinants of fiscal balances: opportunistic behavior by policymakers, heterogeneous fiscal preferences of either voters or politicians, and budget institutions. The focus is on the contributions of the last 10 years and emphasize findings related to developing countries. Included is original empirical evidence along with a recent body of literature on the fiscal preferences of voters, which, interestingly, seems to suggest that voters do not favor high-spending governments.