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Promises, Promises: Credible Policy Reform via Signaling

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  • Dani Rodrik

Abstract

Empirical experience and theory both suggest that policy reforms can be aborted or reversed if they lack sufficient credibility, One reason for such credibility problems is the legitimate doubt regarding how serious the government really is about :he reform process. This paper considers a framework in which the private sector is unable to distinguish between a genuinely reformist government and its nemesis, a government which simply feigns interest in reform because it is a precondition for foreign assistance The general conclusion is that the rate at which reforms are introduced may serve to convey the government's future intentions, and hence act as a signal of its "type". More specifically, credible policy reform may require going overboard: the government will have to go much farther than it would have chosen to in the absence of the credibility problem.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2600.

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Date of creation: May 1988
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Publication status: published as The Economic Journal, September 1989.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2600

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  1. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-37, December.
  4. Persson, Torsten & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1993. "Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 79-97, January.
  5. Rodrik, Dani, 1987. "Trade and capital-account liberalization in a keynesian economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 113-129, August.
  6. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-78, August.
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