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The Jamaican Parliament and Public Spending

16 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2006  

Peter W. Jones

Economic Development Institute Jamaica

Date Written: June 15, 2006


This paper presents a Jamaican dynamic political economy theory of public spending, taxation and debt. Policy choices are made by a Jamaican legislature consisting of representatives elected by geographically-defined areas.

The legislature can raise revenues via a distortionary income tax and by borrowing. These revenues can be used to finance a Jamaican national public good and area-specific transfers (interpreted as Jamaican pork-barrel spending-scarce benefits and spoils). The value of the Jamaican public good is stochastic (non-deterministic), reflecting shocks such as civil disturbances or natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes or floods. In equilibrium, Jamaican policy-making cycles between two distinct regimes:

1. BAU business-as-usual in which legislators bargain over the allocation of scarce benefits and spoils and

2. RPM responsible-policy-making in which policies maximize the collective good of the Nation.

Transitions between the two regimes in Jamaica are brought about by shocks in the value of the public good. In the long run, equilibrium tax rates are too high and too volatile, public good provision is too low and debt levels are too high. In Jamaica, a balanced budget requirement could improve citizen welfare.

Keywords: Jamaican Public Spending, Government Of Jamaica (GOJ)

JEL Classification: E61, E62

Suggested Citation

Jones, Peter W., The Jamaican Parliament and Public Spending (June 15, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Peter W. Jones (Contact Author)

Economic Development Institute Jamaica ( email )

Kingston, 10


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