A Framework for Understanding State Balanced Budget Requirement Systems: Reexamining Distinctive Features and an Operational Definition.

Hou, Yilin and Daniel L. Smith.
Public Budgeting & Finance 26(3): 22-45.

Studies of state fiscal and budgetary policies often use balanced budget requirements (BBRs) as explanatory variables. While current measures laid the crucial groundwork for a basic understanding of state BBRs, their lack of comprehensiveness threatens the validity of empirical work. Based on comprehensive legal research, this article offers a framework for analyzing state requirements: each state's BBRs form a coherent system for achieving budget balance through budget cycles; a fully developed BBR system offers a three-line construct against imbalance; and the more complete, developed, and explicit a BBR system is, the more stringent it will be in achieving budgetary balance.