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Political budget cycles and media freedom





This paper examines the effects of elections on the conduct of central governments' fiscal policies. To do so, it uses a unique panel database that includes disaggregated spending and revenue series at the central government level for multiple countries over the 1975–2010 period. Examining political environments under which incumbent governments generate political budget cycles (PBCs), and comparing the relative importance of factors influencing cycles, we identify media freedom as the factor that plays the most critical role. This result provides a micro-foundation for rational opportunistic models for PBCs that rely on asymmetry of information about politicians' competence, and also offers a way to relate different conditioning factors of PBCs, including fiscal transparency and the maturity of democracies. Further, we show that the election-year rise in budget deficits under low media freedom is primarily driven by an increase in the current, not capital, component of public expenditure.


Veiga, F. J., Veiga, L. G., & Morozumi, A. (2017). Political budget cycles and media freedom. Electoral Studies, 45,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 16, 2016
Publication Date Feb 1, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 1, 2017
Journal Electoral Studies
Print ISSN 0261-3794
Electronic ISSN 0261-3794
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Keywords Political budget cycles; Central government; Voter information; Media freedom; Fiscal policy composition
Public URL
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