Political Economics and Public Finance

131 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2000 Last revised: 24 Nov 2021

See all articles by Torsten Persson

Torsten Persson

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research; Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1999

Abstract

Observed fiscal policy varies greatly across time and countries. How can we explain this variation across time and countries? This paper surveys the recent literature that has tried to answer this question. We adopt a unified approach in portraying public policy as the equilibrium outcome of an explicitly specified political process. We divide the material into three parts. In Part I, we focus on median-voter equilibria that apply to policy issues where disagreement between voters is likely to be one-dimensional. We thus study the general redistributive programs which are typical of the modern welfare state: redistribution between rich and poor, young and old, employed and unemployed, resident of different regions, and labor and capital. In Part II we study special interest politics. Here the policy problem is multi-dimensional and we focus on specific political mechanisms: we study legislative bargaining, lobbying, and electoral competition, as well as the possible interactions between these different forms of political activity. Finally, Part III deals with a set of questions that can be brought under the label of comparative politics. Here we deal with policy choice under alternative political constitutions; we model the rationale for separation of powers and contrast the stylized features of congressional and parliamentary political systems, focusing on their implications for rent extraction by politicians, redistribution and public goods provision.

Suggested Citation

Persson, Torsten and Tabellini, Guido, Political Economics and Public Finance (April 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227427

Torsten Persson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden
+46 8 163066 (Phone)
+46 8 164177 (Fax)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

Guido Tabellini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Milan, 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

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