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Elections and macroeconomic policy cycles Anne Sibert

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  • Kenneth S. Rogoff
  • Anne Sibert

Abstract

There is an extensive empirical literature on political business cycles, but its theoretical foundations are grounded in pre-rational expectations macroeconomic theory. Here we show that electoral cycle in taxes, government spending and money growth can be modeled as an equilibrium signaling process. The cycle is driven by temporary information asymmetries which can arise if, for example, the government has more current information on its performance in providing for national defense. Incumbents cheat least when their private information is either extremely favorable or extremely unfavorable. An exogenous increase in the incumbent party's popularity does not necessarily imply a damped policy cycle.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 271.

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Date of creation: 1985
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:271

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  1. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  2. D. Backus & J. Driffil, 1998. "Inflation and Reputation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625, David K. Levine.
  3. Green, Edward J. & Porter, Robert H., 1982. "Noncooperative Collusion Under Imperfect Price Information," Working Papers 367, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
  5. John G. Riley, 1976. "Informational Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 071, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 1985. "Rationality, causality, and the relation between economic conditions and the popularity of parties : An empirical investigation for the Federal Republic of Germany, 1971-1982," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 243-268.
  7. Radner, Roy, 1985. "Repeated Principal-Agent Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1173-98, September.
  8. Friedman, James W, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(113), pages 1-12, January.
  9. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  10. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  13. Stigler, George J, 1973. "General Economic Conditions and National Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(2), pages 160-67, May.
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