WILLIAM B. HELLER
Bicameralism and Budget Deficits:
The Effect of Parliamentary Structure on Government Spending
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:485-516

In this study I look at the relationship between bicameralism and government budget deficits. The more actors there are who can kill legislation or influence its content, the more deals must be cut to pass a budget. Bicameralism sets up a bilateral veto game between legislative chambers, which leads to higher government budget deficits, all else constant. Since it is easier to cut deals to raise spending than to raise taxes, the need to cut deals across the chambers of a bicameral legislature generally leads to higher spending and, hence, higher deficits. I test this hypothesis on a sample of deficits from 17 countries, from 1965 to 1990.