Theories of budgetary decisionmaking and revenue decline

George W. Downs, David M Rocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The responses of municipal governments to declining real revenue are used to conduct a critical test of three theories of budgetary decisionmaking. Contrary to the expectations generated by the bureaucratic process theory, there is little evidence of the application of any budget cutting algorithm based on stable account priorities. Contrary to the expectations generated by the interest group politics model, there is equally little evidence of across-the-board cuts. The results are, however, broadly consistent with what we have termed the managerial theory which emphasizes the relative "controllability" of expenditure categories, transient decisionmaker preferences, and the stochastic impact of short-term expenditure solutions. The difficulties associated with the conduct of critical tests in this area are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-347
Number of pages19
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Development
  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Theories of budgetary decisionmaking and revenue decline'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this