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Political Institutions and Policy Outcomes: Effects of Presidential Vetoes on Budget Making

Discussion Papers

No.240

June 2010

ABSTRACT

The article examines how the power distribution between the executive and the legislature under the Presidential system affects policy outcomes. We focus in particular on the presidential veto, both package and partial. Using a simple game theory model, we show that the presidential partial veto generally yields a result in favor of the President, but that such effects vary depending on the reversion points of the package veto and the Congress’s possible use of sanctions against the President. The effects of the Presidential partial veto diminish if the reversion point meets certain conditions, or if the Congress has no power to impose sufficient sanctions on the President when the President revises the outcome ex-post. To clarify and explain the model, we present the case of budget making in the Philippines between 1994 and 2008. In the Philippines, the presidential partial veto has been bringing expenditure programs closer to the President’s ideal point within what may be called the Congress’s indifference curve. The Congress, however, has not always passed budget bills and from time to time has carried over the previous year’s budget, in years when the budget deficit increased. This is the situation that the policy makers cannot retrieve from the reversion point.

Keywords: Institutions, Democracy, Policy, Budget, the Philippines

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