Empirical Public Economics
Edited by Attiat F. Ott and Richard J. Cebula
Chapter 17: Line Item Veto: Lessons from the Literature
David Schap Introduction It may strike some as odd to ﬁnd a chapter devoted to theoretical reﬂections, as this one is, in a book on empirical public ﬁnance. Actually such a chapter is particularly helpful to understanding the effects of item veto authority in the budgetary process because there are complexities related to item veto as an institution that have been frequently misunderstood or ignored through the years by political pundits, serious policy analysts and empirical social science researchers. For that reason it is wise to describe some of the basic theory concerning executive line item veto authority so as to facilitate proper empirical testing of its effects in the future and to assist in evaluating appropriately such empirical testing as has been accomplished to date. Theoretical advances concerning item veto authority as a political institution developed rapidly beginning in the 1980s, following closely on the heels of theoretical advances in positive political economy with regard to the legislative process. In my reﬂections I review the development of the emergent theory of executive veto authority during the 1980s and beyond, drawing from that literature some of the important lessons that the theory teaches with respect to the use and effects of item veto authority in a budgetary process. Determined to make this chapter as accessible as possible, I refrain from formal modeling here in favor of a descriptive, non-mathematical presentation of the literature; references to the underlying theoretical articles from which my remarks emanate are sufﬁcient so...
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