Journal Article

Optimal Taxation and Strategic Budget Deficit Under Political Regime Switching

David Martimort

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 68, issue 3, pages 573-592
Published in print July 2001 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online July 2001 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-937X.00181
Optimal Taxation and Strategic Budget Deficit Under Political Regime Switching

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I develop a dynamic political economy theory of optimal taxation and budget distortions in a model with partisan politics. Under asymmetric information, politics affects the distribution of utilities in the economy. Political regime switching introduces fluctuations of this distribution. These fluctuations justify strategic budget distortions by governments currently holding office and willing to favour their redistributive concerns against future majority. Under quite general assumptions on preferences, these distortions take the form of budget deficits (resp. surpluses) with leftist (rightist) governments. Endogenizing the probabilities of getting elected may reverse this result.

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Subjects: Economics

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