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Fiscal Transparency, Gubernatorial Approval, and the Scale of Government: Evidence from the States

James E. Alt, David Dreyer Lassen and David Skilling
State Politics & Policy Quarterly
Vol. 2, No. 3, Approval Ratings of Public Officials in the American States: Causes and Effects (Fall, 2002), pp. 230-250
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40421462
Page Count: 21
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Fiscal Transparency, Gubernatorial Approval, and the Scale of Government: Evidence from the States
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Abstract

We explore the effect of the transparency of fiscal institutions in government on the scale of government and gubernatorial approval using a formal model of accountability. We construct an index of fiscal transparency for the American states from detailed budgetary information. With cross-sectional data for 1986-95, we find that—on average and controlling for other factors—fiscal transparency increases both the scale of government and gubernatorial approval. Our results imply that more transparent fiscal institutions induce greater effort by politicians, to whom voters give higher job approval, on average. Voters also respond by entrusting greater resources to politicians where fiscal institutions are more transparent, leading to larger government.

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