Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Evaluating election platforms: a task for fiscal councils? Scope and rules of the game in view of 25 years of Dutch practice

Bos, Frits and Teulings, Coen (2011): Evaluating election platforms: a task for fiscal councils? Scope and rules of the game in view of 25 years of Dutch practice.

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Abstract

In some countries - the Netherlands, UK and USA - the expected economic implications of election platforms of political parties are evaluated by independent economic institutions prior to the election. This paper analyzes the merits and limitations of this process, taking 25 years of Dutch experience as a point of reference. In particular in times of financial crisis and unsustainable public finance, evaluation of election platforms can serve as a disciplining device for unrealistic or (time) inconsistent promises by politicians. More in general, it can help political parties to credibly inform voters about the implications of their platforms, to design more efficient policies and to reach consensus on them. It can also create a level playing field for political parties not represented in the government, in particular those with limited resources for economic information and expertise. However, there may be adverse effects, in particular when trade-offs are presented in an unbalanced way or when the rules of the evaluation provide too much room for gaming and free lunches.

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