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Elections and the Timing of Devaluations

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  • Ernesto H. Stein
  • Jorge M. Streb

Abstract

This paper presents a rational political budget cycle model for the open economy, in which devaluations are delayed in the run-up to elections, in order to increase the electoral chances of the party in office. By concentrating on the closed economy, previous political cycle models had overlooked the influence of elections on the behavior of exchange rates. We introduce voter uncertainty in two different dimensions. Not only are voters uncertain regarding the competency of the incumbent. They also ignore the degree to which the incumbent is opportunistic, i.e. willing to distort the economy for electoral gain. When there is only uncertainty about competence, we obtain a separating equilibrium, like in the previous political budget cycle literature. However, when uncertainty about opportunism is introduced, a partially pooling equilibrium emerges: an incompetent, opportunistic incumbent delays a devaluation until after elections, mimicking a competent incumbent, while the competent does not distort the optimal pattern of the exchange rate, regardless of the degree of opportunism. The model's prediction that there is a tendency to delay devaluations until after elections is used to look at the empirical evidence on devaluations around elections.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad del CEMA in its series CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. with number 140.

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Date of creation: Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:140

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Keywords: devaluations; elections; political budget cycles; incomplete information.;

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  1. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden & Piero Ghezzi, 2000. "Politics and Exchange Rates: A Cross-Country Approach to Latin America," Research Department Publications 3119, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  3. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden, 2000. "The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Latin America: An Analytical Overview," Research Department Publications 3118, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Ernesto Stein and Jorge Streb., 1994. "Political Stabilization Cycles in High Inflation Economies," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-039, University of California at Berkeley.
  5. Reinhart, Carmen & Vegh, Carlos, 1994. "Intertemporal consumption substitution and inflation stabilization:An empirical investigation," MPRA Paper 13427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Klein, Michael W. & Marion, Nancy P., 1997. "Explaining the duration of exchange-rate pegs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 387-404, December.
  8. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Nouriel Roubini & Gerald D. Cohen, 1997. "Political Cycles and the Macroeconomy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510944, December.
  10. Eliana Cardoso, 1991. "From Inertia to Megainflation: Brazil in the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 3585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, December.
  12. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  13. Jorge M. Streb, 2001. "Signaling in Political Cycles. How far are you willing to go?," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 193, Universidad del CEMA.
  14. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "More on the time consistency of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 333-350, April.
  15. Sebastian Edwards, 1993. "The Political Economy of Infaliton and Stabilization in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 4319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  17. Edwards, Sebastian, 1994. "The Political Economy of Inflation and Stabilization in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 235-66, January.
  18. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The Mirage of Fixed Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 5191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1986. "Temporary Stabilization: Predetermined Exchange Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1319-29, December.
  20. Juan P. Nicolini, 1993. "More on the time inconsistency of optimal monetary policy," Economics Working Papers 56, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  21. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  22. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
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