Chasing Fiscal Responsibility Through Balanced Budgets: The Collision of Ideology with Political Realities

37 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2022

See all articles by Christian Cox

Christian Cox

University of Arizona - Department of Economics

Derek Epp

University of Texas at Austin

Ian Shapiro

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 31, 2022

Abstract

For decades, a central element of the Republican Party brand has been to call for fiscal responsibility through balanced budgets. We ask if the Republican Party has ever lived up to these ideological principles. Medicare Part D and paying for the recent Afghanistan and Iraq wars are striking examples of major increases in deficit spending enacted under Republican Party control, but how typical are they? In order to answer this question we study macro-level trends in the federal budget across multiple dimensions, and exploit CBO reports to study legislative behavior on specific bills. Evidence of Republican politicians behaving in ways that would suggest a systematic commitment to balanced budgets is mixed at best, with some evidence of decline across time.

JEL Classification: H5, H6

Suggested Citation

Cox, Christian and Epp, Derek and Shapiro, Ian, Chasing Fiscal Responsibility Through Balanced Budgets: The Collision of Ideology with Political Realities (August 31, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4213786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4213786

Christian Cox (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Economics ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Derek Epp

University of Texas at Austin

Ian Shapiro

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

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