Not All Elections Are Alike: The Institutional Determinants of Political Business Cycles Open Access

Barclay, Pascael (2009)

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Not All Elections Are Alike: The Institutional Determinants of Political Business
By Pascael L. Barclay
Since the 1970s, scholars have struggled to resolve the theoretical and empirical
debates regarding the existence and nature of political business cycles or PBCs.
PBCs occur when incumbents alter fiscal policies around election time to improve
their reelection chances. Despite many advancements, scholars still have only a
rudimentary understanding of how and if PBCs occur in all dictatorships and across
regime types. This thesis undertakes two multivariate tests of PBCs. The first
employs a new dataset of 134 dictatorships from 1960 to 2000 and focuses on the
effects of electoral characteristics. The second uses a worldwide sample of
democracies and autocracies from 1960 to 2000 and concentrates on the effects of
party structure and regime type. I find weak evidence of institutions' effects on
PBCs in both tests. Nonetheless, these findings provide valuable insight into the
general nature of electoral politics in dictatorships and provide evidence that PBCs
are not a cross-national phenomenon.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1
2. Literature Review 3
2.1 PBCs in EA Regimes 5
2.2 PBCs across Regime Types 10
2.3 Summary 11
3. Institutional Determinants of PBCs 12

3.1 Hypotheses 15
4. Data and Methodology for Hypotheses 1-3 22
4.1 Dependent Variables 23
4.2 Independent Variables 25
4.3 Methodology 28
5. Results for Hypotheses 1-3 28
5.1 Robustness Checks 30
6. Data and Methodology for Hypotheses 4 and 5 32
6.1 Dependent Variables 32
6.2 Independent Variables 32
6.3 Methodology 34
7. Results for Hypotheses 4 and 5 35
7.1 Robustness Checks 36
8. Conclusion 38
Bibliography 43

List of Tables

1. Elections in EA Dataset 23
2. Summary Statistics for EA Data 28
3. Results: Electoral Authoritarian Regimes 29
4. Robustness Check: EA Regimes- Post-Election Year Effects 31

5. Robustness Check: EA Regimes- No Control Variables 32
6. Summary Statistics for All Regimes Data 34
7. Results: All Regimes- Presidential Elections 35
8. Results: All Regimes- Legislative Elections 36
9. Robustness Check: All Regimes- All Elections 36
10. Robustness Check: All Regimes- Post-Election Year Effects 37
11. Robustness Check: All Regimes- No Control Variables 38

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