Thanks to Edith Neuenkirch, Matthias Neuenkirch, Britta Niehof, and Matthias Uhl for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper. The usual disclaimer applies.
Leaders’ Impact on Public Spending Priorities: The Case of the German Laender
Article first published online: 18 OCT 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 65, Issue 4, pages 480–511, November 2012
How to Cite
Hayo, B. and Neumeier, F. (2012), Leaders’ Impact on Public Spending Priorities: The Case of the German Laender. Kyklos, 65: 480–511. doi: 10.1111/kykl.12003
- Issue published online: 18 OCT 2012
- Article first published online: 18 OCT 2012
We examine determinants of the composition of public expenditure in the German Laender (states) over the period 1992–2008, as the Laender exhibit a high degree of institutional and political homogeneity and are endowed with extensive fiscal competences. Our prime contribution is an investigation into how political leaders’ socioeconomic background influences public spending priorities. Applying sociological theory, we link preferences for the composition of public spending to social status. In contrast to approaches relying on political budget cycles or partisan theory, we find strong and theory-consistent evidence that prime ministers tend to favour fiscal policies supporting the social class in which they are socialised. Governments led by prime ministers from a poor socioeconomic background spend significantly more on social security, education, health, infrastructure, and public safety.