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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The struggle for parliamentary control over taxes and public spending played a central role in the development of modern democracy. Although the power of the purse is now recognized as a fundamental function of representative assemblies, systematic comparative scholarship on this area of legislative studies is recent and not extensive. This chapter examines the role of legislatures in the budgetary process from a comparative perspective. It first discusses the evolution of the literature in the field, followed by a summary of core findings in relation to the variation in legislative financial scrutiny and the impacts of legislatures on public finances and other outcomes. Finally, it highlights a number of significant unanswered or underexplored questions and offers suggestions for future research.

Keywords: power of the purse, legislatures, public spending, politics, budgetary process, taxation, public finance, constitutional authority, legislators, fiscal policy

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