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

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Author Info

  • 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. 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.
  2. Sorensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1999. "Output Fluctuations and Fiscal Policy: US State and Local Governments 1978-1994," CEPR Discussion Papers 2286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  6. Walter Nicholson & Karen Needels, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance: Strengthening the Relationship Between Theory and Policy," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 5070, Mathematica Policy Research.
  7. Linda Gonçalves Veiga & Francisco José Veiga & Toke S. Aidt, 2009. "Election Results and Opportunistic Policies: A New Test of the Rational Political Business Cycle Model," NIPE Working Papers 24/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  8. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Lars-Erik Borge & Per Tovmo, 2009. "Myopic or Constrained by Balanced-Budget Rules? The Intertemporal Spending Behavior of Norwegian Local Governments," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(2), pages 200-219, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Walter Nicholson & Karen Needels, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance: Strengthening the Relationship between Theory and Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 47-70, Summer.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance with Endogenous Private Insurance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 85-114, May.
  15. Gary Wagner & Russell Sobel, 2006. "State budget stabilization fund adoption: Preparing for the next recession or circumventing fiscal constraints?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 177-199, January.
  16. Knight, Brian & Levinson, Arik, 1999. "Rainy Day Funds and State Government Savings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 459-72, September.
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