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Political Cycles in OECD Economies

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  • Roubini, Nouriel
  • Alesina, Alberto
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    Abstract

    This paper studies whether the dynamic behaviour of GNP growth, unemployment and inflation is systematically affected by the timing of elections and of changes of governments. The sample includes the last three decades in 18 OECD economies. We explicitly test the implication of several models of political cycles, both of the "opportunistic" and of the "partisan" type. Also, we confront the implication of recent "rational" models with more traditional approaches. Our results can be summarized as follows: (a) The "political business cycles" hypothesis, as formulated in Nordhaus (1975) on output and unemployment is generally rejected by the data; (b) inflation tends to increase immediately after elections, perhaps as a result of pre-electoral expansionary monetary and fiscal policies; (c) we find evidence of temporary partisan differences in output and unemployment and of long-run partisan differences in the inflation rate as implied by the "rational partisan theory" by Alesina (1987); (d) we find virtually no evidence of permanent partisan differences in output growth and unemployment.

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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4553025/alesina_politicalcycles.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4553025.

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    Date of creation: 1992
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    Publication status: Published in Review of Economic Studies
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4553025

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Working Papers 1950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert G. King & Charles I. Plosser & James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 1991. "Stochastic trends and economic fluctuations," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
    4. Bhargava, Alok & Sargan, J D, 1983. "Estimating Dynamic Random Effects Models from Panel Data Covering Short Time Periods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1635-59, November.
    5. Clark, Peter K, 1987. "The Cyclical Component of U.S. Economic Activity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 797-814, November.
    6. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
    7. Ariel Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1982. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," NBER Working Papers 0933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Steven M. Sheffrin, 1989. "Evaluating Rational Partisan Business Cycle Theory," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 239-259, November.
    9. Anderson, T. W. & Hsiao, Cheng, 1982. "Formulation and estimation of dynamic models using panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 47-82, January.
    10. 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.
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