en
Scientific article
English

A General Empirical Law of Public Budgets: A Comparative Analysis

Published inAmerican journal of political science, vol. 53, no. 4, p. 855-873
Publication date2009
Abstract

We examine regularities and differences in public budgeting in comparative perspective. Budgets quantify collective political decisions made in response to incoming information, the preferences of decision makers, and the institutions that structure how decisions are made. We first establish that the distribution of budget changes in many Western democracies follows a non-Gaussian distribution, the power function. This implies that budgets are highly incremental, yet occasionally are punctuated by large changes. This pattern holds regardless of the type of political system—parliamentary or presidential— and for level of government. By studying the power function's exponents we find systematic differences for budgetary increases versus decreases (the former are more punctuated) in most systems, and for levels of government (local governments are less punctuated). Finally, we show that differences among countries in the coefficients of the general budget law correspond to differences in formal institutional structures. While the general form of the law is probably dictated by the fundamental operations of human and organizational information processing, differences in the magnitudes of the law's basic parameters are country- and institution-specific.

Keywords
  • Public budget
  • Comparative perspective
Citation (ISO format)
JONES, Bryan D. et al. A General Empirical Law of Public Budgets: A Comparative Analysis. In: American journal of political science, 2009, vol. 53, n° 4, p. 855–873. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00405.x
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
accessLevelRestricted
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0092-5853
496views
2downloads

Technical informations

Creation09/02/2014 11:39:00 AM
First validation09/02/2014 11:39:00 AM
Update time03/14/2023 9:45:17 PM
Status update03/14/2023 9:45:16 PM
Last indexation01/16/2024 11:49:20 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack