This paper analyzes government commitments to ongoing spending programs that require future outlays. Spending commitments are important for understanding partisan politics because they constrain future governments. In a model with one government good, a 'stubborn liberal' policy maker can use precommitted spending to prevent a later conservative government from imposing decisive spending cuts. In a model where parties differ about spending priorities, reelection uncertainty creates a permanent bias towards higher government spending and higher taxes.
government spending partisan politics political economy precommitment