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How Do Politicians Save? Buffer Stock Management of Unemployment Insurance Finance

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  • Steven Craig

    ()
    (University of Houston)

  • Wided Hemissi

    ()
    (University of Houston)

  • Satadru Mukherjee

    ()
    (University of Memphis)

  • Bent E. Sorensen

    ()
    (University of Houston)

Abstract

This paper uses Carroll's (1992) buffer stock model to study government savings behavior exemplifi ed by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs of U.S. states from 1976 to 2008. We find strong empirical support for the model from regressions and simulations. Empirically, we fi nd that political consump- tion, defi ned in the context of the model from discretionary components of UI benefi ts and taxes, rises when savings and other spendable resources rises. We calibrate and simulate the model using the methodology pioneered by Jappelli, Padula, and Pistaferri (2008) and we find the model fits well. A key implica- tion is that intertemporal planning by governments is expressed by a trade-off between impatience (politicians' desire to immediately expend all savings) and risk aversion (politicians' fear of running out of resources to support UI). We quantify the amount of fiscal stimulus from the UI program under buffer stock saving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Houston in its series Working Papers with number 201302845.

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Date of creation: 20 Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:201302845

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Postal: Houston TX 77023
Web page: http://www.uh.edu/class/economics/
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Keywords: buffer stock; state goverment saving; unemployment insurance;

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  1. Aidt, T.S. & Veiga, F.J. & Veiga, L.G., 2009. "Election Results and Opportunistic Policies: A New Test of the Rational Political Business Cycle Model," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0934, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  8. Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  9. Craig, Steven G. & Hoang, Edward C., 2011. "State government response to income fluctuations: Consumption, insurance, and capital expenditures," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 343-351, July.
  10. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Lars-Erik Borge & Per Tovmo, 2007. "Myopic or constrained by balanced-budget-rules? The intertemporal spending behavior of Norwegian local governments," Working Paper Series 8807, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  16. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Balanced Budget Rules and Fiscal Policy: Evidence From the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 329-36, September.
  17. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  18. Asdrubali, Pierfederico & Sorensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1996. "Channels of Interstate Risk Sharing: United States 1963-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1081-1110, November.
  19. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
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