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Are Elections Debt Brakes? Evidence from French Municipalities

Caseette, Aurélie and Farvaque, Etienne (2013): Are Elections Debt Brakes? Evidence from French Municipalities.

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We show that voters are fiscal conservatives, although in the long run only: while the average (over the mandate) level of debt has a negative impact on the probability of reelection, pre-election debt accumulation by incumbents increases their probability of reelection. As the negative impact is larger the higher the debt level, it compensates the short run effect. Elections thus appear as a disciplining device, even if a weak one.

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