Creator: Backus, David and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
We document properties of business cycles in ten countries over the last hundred years, contrasting the behavior of real quantities with that of the price level and the stock of money. Although the magnitude of output fluctuations has varied across countries and periods, relations among variables have been remarkably uniform. Consumption has generally been about as variable as output, and investment substantially more variable, and both have been strongly procydical. The trade balance has generally been countercyclical. The exception to this regularity is government purchases, which exhibit no systematic cyclical tendency. With respect to the size of output fluctuations, standard deviations are largest between the two world wars. In some countries (notably Australia and Canada) they are substantially larger prior to World War I than after World War II, but in others (notably Japan and the United Kingdom) there is little difference between these periods. Properties of price levels, in contrast, exhibit striking differences between periods. Inflation rates are more persistent after World War II than before, and price level fluctuations are typically procyclical before World War II, countercyclical afterward. We find no general tendency toward increased persistence in money growth rates, but find that fluctuations in money are less highly correlated with output in the postwar period.
Fach: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
Creator: Persson, Torsten. and Tabellini, Guido Enrico, 1956- Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
Inspired by the current European developments, we study equilibrium fiscal policy under alternative constitutional arrangements in a "federation" of countries. There are two levels of government: local and federal. Local policy redistributes across individuals and affects the probability of aggregate shocks, while federal policy shares international risk. Policies are chosen under majority rule. There is a moral hazard problem: federal risk-sharing can induce the local governments to enact policies that increase local risk. We investigate this incentive problem under alternative fiscal constitutions. In particular, we contrast a vertically ordered system like the EC with a horizontally ordered federal system like the US. These alternative arrangements are not neutral, in the sense that they create different incentives for policymakers and voters, and give rise to different political equilibria. A general conclusion is that, centralization of functions and power can be welfare improving under appropriate institutions. However, this conclusion only applies to the moral hazard problem and a federation where the countries are not too dissimilar.
Stichwort: Fiscal federalism, Politics, Risk sharing, and Principal—agent models Fach: D70 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making: General, E60 - Macroeconomic policy, macroeconomic aspects of public finance, and general outlook - General, and H10 - Structure and Scope of Government: General
Creator: Barbosa, Antonio S. Pinto., Jovanovic, Boyan, 1951-, and Spiegel, Mark. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper analyzes how political stability depends on economic factors. Fluctuations in groups' economic capacities and in their abilities to engage in rent-seeking or predatory behavior create periodic incentives for those groups to renege on their social obligations. A constitution remains in force so long as no party wishes to defect to the noncooperative situation, and it is reinstituted as soon as each party finds it to its advantage to revert to cooperation. Partnerships of equals are easier to sustain than are arrangements in which one party is more powerful in some economic or noneconomic trait. In this sense, inequality is bad for social welfare. Surprisingly, perhaps, it is the rich, and not the poor segments of society who in our model pose the greater threat to the stability of the social order. Using cross-country data, we test and confirm the prediction that most constitutional disruptions should be accompanied by increases in income inequality.
Stichwort: Welfare, Social problems, Interest groups, and Economic models Fach: E52 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Monetary policy and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior
Creator: Krusell, Per and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
Some economic policies and regulations seem to have only one purpose: to prevent technological development and economic growth from occurring. In this paper, we attempt to rationalize such policies as outcomes of voting equilibria. In our environment, some agents will be worse off if the economy grows, since their skills are complementary to resources that can be allocated to growth-stimulating activities. In the absence of arrangements where votes are traded, we show that for some initial skill distributions, the economy may stagnate due to growth-preventing policies. Different initial skill distributions, however, lead to voting outcomes and policies in support of technological development, and to persistent economic growth. In making our argument formally, we use a dynamic model with induced heterogeneity in agents' skills. In their voting decisions, agents compare how they will be affected under each policy alternative, and then vote for the policy that maximizes their welfare.
Fach: O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models and O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Creator: Faust, Jon. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
The Federal Reserve Act erected a unique structure of government decisionmaking, independent with elaborate rules balancing internal power. Historical evidence suggests that this outcome was a response to public conflict over inflation's redistributive powers. This paper documents and formalizes this argument: in the face of conflict over redistributive inflation, policy by majority can lead to policy that is worse, even fo the majority, than obvious alternatives. The bargaining solution of an independent board with properly balanced interests leads to a better outcome. Technically, this paper extends earlier work in making policy preferences endogenous and in extending the notion of equilibirum policy to such a world. Substantively, this work provides a simple grounding of policy preferences-largely missing heretofore-linking game theoretic models of policy to historical evidence about the formation of an independent monetary authority.
Fach: E58 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Central banks and their policies, N12 - Macroeconomics and monetary economics ; Growth and fluctuations - United States ; Canada : 1913-, and E52 - Monetary policy, central banking, and the supply of money and credit - Monetary policy
Creator: Chang, Roberto. Series: Conference on economics and politics Abstract:
This paper examines the determination of the rate of growth in an economy in which two political parties, each representing a different social class, negotiate the magnitude and allocation of taxes. Taxes may increase growth if they finance public services, but reduce growth when used to redistribute income between classes. The different social classes have different preferences about growth and redistribution. The resulting conflict is resolved through the tax negotiations between the political parties. I use the model to obtain empirical predictions and policy lessons about the relationship between economic growth and income inequality. In particular, I show that, although differences in growth rates across countries may be negatively related to income inequality, redistributing wealth does not enhance growth.
Fach: O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models and D72 - Analysis of collective decision-making - Models of political processes : Rent-seeking, elections, legislatures, and voting behavior