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What determines the length of a typical Canadian parliamentary government?

J. Stephen Ferris and Marcel Voia

No 08-06, Carleton Economic Papers from Carleton University, Department of Economics

Abstract: In this paper we examine the length of political tenure in Canadian federally elected parliamentary governments since 1867. Using data on tenure length, we categorize the distribution of governing tenures in terms of a hazard function--the probability that an election will arise in each year, given that an election has not yet been called. We then ask whether that distribution responds in a systematic way to characteristics of the political and/or economic environment. Our particular focus is on whether there is evidence of electoral timing and whether governing parties have used economy policy in conjunction with federal elections. Finally we investigate whether partisan effects emerge. The results suggest that, independent of party affiliation, governing parties do engage in election timing. The data also suggest that election calls coincide with periods of monetary expansion and more with tax decreases than with expenditure increases, supporting the Persson and Tabellini (2003) hypothesis that under parliamentary systems, it is tax cuts (rather than expenditure increases) that will be most closely associated with elections. Unlike the case in other parliamentary systems, however, Canadian data also support the hypothesis that tough measures (expenditure cuts) are postponed until after elections.

Keywords: duration models; election timing; political business cycles; political policy cycles. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C41 H11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2008-10, Revised 2009-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12)

Published: Revised version in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 42, No. 4 (December 2009), pp. 881–910

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:car:carecp:08-06

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