Revenue Decentralization, Central Oversight and the Political Budget Cycle: Evidence from Israel
34 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 2015
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 preelection expansions will be partly covered later by the central government.
Keywords: Political budget cycles; soft budget constraint; local governments; decentralization
JEL Classification: D72, H72, H74, E62
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation