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Budgetary processes: a political economy perspective

Goyal, Ashima (2003): Budgetary processes: a political economy perspective. Published in: India Infrastructure Report 2003 : Public Expenditure Allocation and Accountability (2003)

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Abstract

The response to macro shocks, given the electoral structure, built in perverse incentives that influenced India's development process. The chapter selectively surveys political economic theory, Indian and other country experience to bring out the systemic incentives that affect political behaviour, government budgets, and expenditure. Conceptual categories developed are found useful in interpreting Indian experience. Overtime, conflicts between groups were handled in a way that lowered incentives for expansion of the cake, and led to a short-term focus. Price controls bred inefficiencies, especially after the oil shocks. But there are leverage points for change. Well-coordinated macro policy, including infrastructure spending, with some restraints on political-bureaucratic choices, could create incentives for rapid growth. The latter eases political adjustments. It makes longer-term sustainable re-distribution feasible, and raises returns to choices that improve human capital.

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