A Framework for Understanding State Balanced Budget Requirement Systems: Reexamining Distinctive Features and an Operational Definition

Authors

  • YILIN HOU,

    1. Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, 204 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602-1615
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  • DANIEL L. SMITH

    1. Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, 204 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602-1615
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  • Yilin Hou is Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, 204 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602-1615. He can be reached at yihou@uga.edu.

  • Daniel L. Smith is a Ph.D. student and Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Public Administration and Policy, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, 204 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602-1615. He can be reached at dlsmith@uga.edu.

Abstract

Studies of state fiscal and budgetary policies often use balanced budget requirements (BBRs) as explanatory variables. While current measures laid the crucial groundwork for a basic understanding of state BBRs, their lack of comprehensiveness threatens the validity of empirical work. Based on comprehensive legal research, this article offers a framework for analyzing state requirements: each state's BBRs form a coherent system for achieving budget balance through budget cycles; a fully developed BBR system offers a three-line construct against imbalance; and the more complete, developed, and explicit a BBR system is, the more stringent it will be in achieving budgetary balance.

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