This paper discusses the literature on strategic use of debt models and tests the seminal models of Persson & Svensson (1989) and Alesina & Tabellini (1990) on a dataset of Flemish municipalities. The literature on strategic deficit and debt behaviour originates from the question whether or not incumbent policymakers run higher budget deficits than they would if they were confident of re-election. In this paper, we introduce a vote function to estimate the probability of electoral defeat and present evidence of strategic debt in line with Persson & Svensson (1989), but only for leftist governments with expected vote percentages below 49%. There is no indication that rightist governments without re-election prospects are sensitive to strategic debt behaviour.
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