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The Elgar Companion to Public Economics

Empirical Public Economics

Edited by Attiat F. Ott and Richard J. Cebula

Attiat Ott and Richard Cebula have recognised the need to present, in an accessible and straightforward way, the voluminous literature in the public economics arena. Advances in econometric techniques and the spillover of knowledge from other disciplines made it difficult, not only for students but also for lecturers, to accurately find the information they need.
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Chapter 17: Line Item Veto: Lessons from the Literature

David Schap


David Schap Introduction It may strike some as odd to find a chapter devoted to theoretical reflections, as this one is, in a book on empirical public finance. Actually such a chapter is particularly helpful to understanding the effects of item veto authority in the budgetary process because there are complexities related to item veto as an institution that have been frequently misunderstood or ignored through the years by political pundits, serious policy analysts and empirical social science researchers. For that reason it is wise to describe some of the basic theory concerning executive line item veto authority so as to facilitate proper empirical testing of its effects in the future and to assist in evaluating appropriately such empirical testing as has been accomplished to date. Theoretical advances concerning item veto authority as a political institution developed rapidly beginning in the 1980s, following closely on the heels of theoretical advances in positive political economy with regard to the legislative process. In my reflections I review the development of the emergent theory of executive veto authority during the 1980s and beyond, drawing from that literature some of the important lessons that the theory teaches with respect to the use and effects of item veto authority in a budgetary process. Determined to make this chapter as accessible as possible, I refrain from formal modeling here in favor of a descriptive, non-mathematical presentation of the literature; references to the underlying theoretical articles from which my remarks emanate are sufficient so...

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