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Defying the 'Juncker Curse': Can Reformist Governments Be Re-elected?

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  • Marco Buti
  • Alessandro Turrini
  • Paul Van den Noord
  • Pietro Biroli

Abstract

European policy makers, notably in the euro area, seem to take for granted that the electorate will punish them for bold reform in product and labour markets. This may explain why progress in the euro area has been comparatively limited. This paper posits and, using a dataset for 21 OECD countries, shows that this fear of electoral backlashes is unfounded, provided that financial markets work well. The mechanisms involved are relatively straightforward: well functioning financial markets "bring forward" future yields of structural reform to the present, thus permitting to overcome possible short-run costs. As a result, the electorate tend to reward, not punish, reformist governments. This has important implications for the design of structural reform packages, with financial market reforms being an essential ingredient beside product and labour market reforms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 324.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0324

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Keywords: Economic and Monetary Union; structural reforms; electoral cycle; financial markets; Buti; Turrini; Van den Noord; Biroli;

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  1. Romain Duval & Jørgen Elmeskov, 2005. "The Effects of EMU on Structural Reforms in Labour and Product Markets," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 438, OECD Publishing.
  2. Guido Tabellini & Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," UCLA Economics Working Papers 539, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  4. Giuseppe Bertola, 2007. "Finance and Welfare States in Globalising Markets," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & Jeremy Lawson (ed.), The Structure and Resilience of the Financial System Reserve Bank of Australia.
  5. Marco Buti & Werner Rüger & Alessandro Turrini, 2009. "Is Lisbon Far from Maastricht? Trade-offs and Complementarities between Fiscal Discipline and Structural Reforms," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 55(1), pages 165-196, March.
  6. Brender, Adi, 2003. "The effect of fiscal performance on local government election results in Israel: 1989-1998," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2187-2205, September.
  7. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2004. "Political Budget Cycles in New versus Established Democracies," NBER Working Papers 10539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  10. Jean Pisani-Ferry & Xavier Debrun & André Sapir, 2008. "Government Size and Output Volatility," IMF Working Papers 08/122, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  12. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
  13. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & Andr� Sapir, 2008. "Government size and output volatility: should we forsake automatic stabilization?," European Economy - Economic Papers 316, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  14. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2005. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Cross-Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 11862, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Poplawski Ribeiro, Marcos & Beetsma, Roel, 2008. "The political economy of structural reforms under a deficit restriction," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 179-198, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Larch, Martin & van den Noord, Paul & Jonung, Lars, 2011. "The Stability and Growth Pact: Lessons from the Great Recession," Working Papers 2011:6, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alberto F. Alesina & Dorian Carloni & Giampaolo Lecce, 2011. "The Electoral Consequences of Large Fiscal Adjustments," NBER Working Papers 17655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul den Noord, 2011. "Turning the page? EU fiscal consolidation in the wake of the crisis," Empirica, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 19-51, February.
  4. Jacques Pelkmans & Lourdes Acedo Montoya & Alessandro Maravalle, 2008. "How product market reforms lubricate shock adjustment in the euro area," European Economy - Economic Papers 341, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  5. Lucifora, Claudio & Moriconi, Simone, 2012. "Political Instability and Labor Market Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 6457, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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