Politics as a Polycentric Order in Practice: The U.S. Federal Budget System

The Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming

21 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2018

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Civics students from time immemorial have been taught that there is a strict hierarchy within legislative bodies. In the case of the United States, this view would suggest that Congress is at the center of all legislative decisions and that Congress is responsible for all legislative decisions made. This monocentric view, however, obfuscates much detail regarding the true nature of political decision-making. Abandoning this simplistic view in favor of a richer, polycentric model that emphasizes the role of committees and legislative processes removes this obfuscation and sheds light on the source of the disconnect between the observed outcomes and the stated preferences of the American public. This paper develops such a model, particularly with respect to budgeting and spending processes in the U.S. Senate.

Keywords: Tax Policy, Public Finance, Political Decision-Making

JEL Classification: B53, D72, H21

Suggested Citation

Hebert, David J., Politics as a Polycentric Order in Practice: The U.S. Federal Budget System (June 2018). The Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3194087

David J. Hebert (Contact Author)

Aquinas College ( email )

Nashville, TN
United States

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