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I've read in a paper that I can't find araing right now that supermajority requirements (in state budgets) tend increase deficit spending because more "pork barrel" interest are included.

If we extended that notion in practical terms to the federal level, cohabitation (to borrow a term from European politics) between majorities from different parties in Senate vs House, as well having a president from a party that doesn't have a majority in both houses seem to be an equivalent condition.

So, is there empirical evidence whether one-party budgets narrow the deficit more than party mixtures (in the three places that participate in making the budget: House/Senate/Presidency)?

N.B such a study would not be entirely trivial because deficits also depend on tax income and so on how the economy is doing. I've also read that deficits generally go down in boom/growth times, although the recent Trump years may be an exception. Also, things like wars may be a factor too on the spending side, i.e. there are confounding factors to consider.

  • Are you looking for a analysis specific to the US system? Here in Canada where occasionally there are unofficial coalitions during minority governments it all seems to depend on the overall ideological attitude of the coalition, which is not necessarily tied to party label. We now have a minority Liberal center-left govt which depends on the official socialist party, the NDP, to stay in power. Deficits are bad now and can expect to get worse to the extent that the NDP will demand more spending as a price for support, because there is very little public tolerance for tax increases to cover it. – user30014 Feb 1 at 17:02
  • @JohnK: I'm weary of expanding the scope of the question to other/arbitrary countries because an answer might also depend on other features of the political system, e.g. proportional representation (which leads to coalitions) etc. – Fizz Feb 1 at 17:14

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