Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Political Cost of Reforms

Contents:

Author Info

  • Alessandra Bonfiglioli
  • Gino Gancia

Abstract

This paper formalizes in a fully-rational model the popular idea that politicians perceive an electoral cost in adopting costly reforms with future benets and reconciles it with the evidence that reformist governments are not punished by voters. To do so, it proposes a model of elections where political ability is ex-ante unknown and investment in reforms is unobservable. On the one hand, elections improve accountability and allow to keep well-performing incumbents. On the other, politicians make too little reforms in an attempt to signal high ability and increase their reappointment probability. Although in a rational expectation equilibrium voters cannot be fooled and hence reelection does not depend on reforms, the strategy of underinvesting in reforms is nonetheless sustained by out-of-equilibrium beliefs. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, uncertainty makes reforms more politically viable and may, under some conditions, increase social welfare. The model is then used to study how political rewards can be set so as to maximize social welfare and the desirability of imposing a one-term limit to governments. The predictions of this theory are consistent with a number of empirical regularities on the determinants of reforms and reelection. They are also consistent with a new stylized fact documented in this paper: economic uncertainty is associated to more reforms in a panel of 20 OECD countries.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://research.barcelonagse.eu/tmp/working_papers/507.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 507.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:507

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27, 08005 Barcelona
Phone: +34 93 542-1222
Fax: +34 93 542-1223
Email:
Web page: http://www.barcelonagse.eu
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Elections; Reforms; Asymmetric Information; Uncertainty;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Mattozzi, Andrea & Merlo, Antonio, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6164, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2013. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives From Selection," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 369-398, 04.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
  5. Mariano Tommasi & Andres Velasco, 1996. "Where are we in the political economy of reform?," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 187-238.
  6. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Richard Blundell & Steve Bond, 1995. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," IFS Working Papers W95/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2008. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 3411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Marco Buti & Alessandro Turrini & Paul Van den Noord & Pietro Biroli, 2010. "Reforms and re-elections in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 25, pages 61-116, 01.
  10. Allan Drazen & William Easterly, 2001. "Do Crises Induce Reform? Simple Empirical Tests of Conventional Wisdom," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 129-157, 07.
  11. Marco Battaglini & Steve Coate, 2006. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001094, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Ashoka Mody & Abdul Abiad, 2005. "Financial Reform: What Shakes It? What Shapes It?," IMF Economic Issues 35, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217, January.
  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330, November.
  16. Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2011. "Policymakers' Horizon and Trade Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 8561, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Francesco Trebbi, 2006. "Who Adjusts and When? On the Political Economy of Reforms," NBER Working Papers 12049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
  19. Giovanni S. F. Bruno, 2005. "Estimation and inference in dynamic unbalanced panel-data models with a small number of individuals," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 5(4), pages 473-500, December.
  20. Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  21. A. Javier Hamann & Alessandro Prati, 2002. "Why Do Many Disinflations Fail? The Importance of Luck, Timing, and Political Institutions," IMF Working Papers 02/228, International Monetary Fund.
  22. Andrea Prat, 2002. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 439, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  23. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  24. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
  25. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Jens Høj & Vincenzo Galasso & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Thai-Thanh Dang, 2006. "The Political Economy of Structural Reform: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 501, OECD Publishing.
  27. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti & José Tavares, 1998. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 197-266.
  28. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2012. "Growth, Selection and Appropriate Contracts," Working Papers 566, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Giacomo Ponzetto & Ugo Troiano, 2014. "Social Capital, Government Expenditures, and Growth," Working Papers 612, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Aney, Madhav & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Morelli, Massimo, 2011. "Can Market Failure Cause Political Failure," CEPR Discussion Papers 8533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Nath, Anusha, 2013. "Land Acquisition and Compensation in Singur: What Really Happened?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 121, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.