, Volume 145, Issue 1-2, pp 57-79
Date: 30 Oct 2009

Do state balanced budget requirements matter? Testing two explanatory frameworks

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Balanced budget requirements (BBRs) affect all aspects of financial operations. Previous studies relied on characterizations that highlight a constitutional-statutory distinction. Hou and Smith (Public Budgeting & Finance 26(3):22–45, 2006) instead propose a political-technical construct. This article uses probit estimation, six measures of balance, and long panels to test which framework offers more explanatory power. The findings suggest that BBRs matter to varying degrees. Technical requirements exert bigger effects than political ones, the effects are more obvious on narrower than broader measures of balance and in the later phases of the budget cycle, and the political-technical construct offers more explanatory power than the constitutional-statutory distinction.