, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 101-134
Date: 30 Dec 2010

Does government ideology influence budget composition? Empirical evidence from OECD countries

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Abstract

This paper examines whether government ideology has influenced the allocation of public expenditures in OECD countries. I analyze two datasets that report different expenditure categories and cover the time periods 1970–1997 and 1990–2006, respectively. The results suggest that government ideology has had a rather weak influence on the composition of governments’ budgets. Leftist governments, however, increased spending on “Public Services” in the period 1970–1997 and on “Education” in the period 1990–2006. These findings imply, first, that government ideology hardly influenced budgetary affairs in the last decades, and thus, if ideology plays a role at all, it influences non-budgetary affairs. Second, education has become an important expenditure category for leftist parties to signal their political visions to voters belonging to all societal groups.