Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance

No 9:
Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies. A New Test Approach Using Fiscal Forecasts

Henry Ohlsson and Anders Vredin ()

Abstract: We test how government revenue and expenditure depend on economic activity, elections, and ideology. We show how the use of fiscal forecasts makes it possible better to understand the determinants of fiscal variables and to separate fiscal policy rules from discretionary policies. The approach is illustrated using a unique, unpublished Swedish data set of fiscal forecasts and forecasts of economic activity. Revenue varies positively with nominal earnings, expenditure varies negatively with real GDP. We find partisan effects, but no political business cycle effects. Revenue and expenditure are lower with non-Social democratic governments. The partisan effect on revenue is stronger than on expenditure. Using another unique data set, we find that there are autonomous decisions behind the reaction of expenditure, but not of revenue, to activity.

Keywords: Fiscal forecasts; fiscal policy; policy reaction functions; feedback; autonomous decisions; partisan theories; political business cycles; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: E62; H60; (follow links to similar papers)

41 pages, January 1994

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This paper is published as:
Ohlsson, Henry and Anders Vredin, (1996), 'Political Cycles and Cyclical Policies. A New Test Approach Using Fiscal Forecasts', The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 98, pages 203-218

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