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Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?

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  • Alesina, Alberto
  • Drazen, Allan

Abstract

When a stabilization has significant distributional implications (e.g., tax increases to eliminate a large budget deficit), socioeconomic groups may attempt to shift the burden of stabilization onto other groups. The process leading to stabilization becomes a "war of attrition," each group attempting to wait the others out and stabilization occurring only when one group concedes and bears a disproportionate share of the burden. The authors solve for the expected time of stabilization in a model of "rational" delay and relate it to several political and economic variables. They motivate this approach and its results by comparison to historical and current episodes. Copyright 1991 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:81:y:1991:i:5:p:1170-88
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas J. Sargent, 1982. "The Ends of Four Big Inflations," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation: Causes and Effects, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Backus, David & Driffill, John, 1985. "Inflation and Reputation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 530-538, June.
    3. Barry Eichengreen., 1989. "The Capital Levy in Theory and Practice," Economics Working Papers 89-117, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. Barro, Robert J., 1986. "Reputation in a model of monetary policy with incomplete information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 3-20, January.
    5. Helpman, Elhanan & Leiderman, Leonardo, 1988. "Stabilization in high inflation countries: Analytical foundations and recent experience," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 9-84, January.
    6. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1991. "Credibility and Stabilization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 837-850.
    7. Berg, Andrew & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1988. "The debt crisis structural explanations of country performance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 271-306, November.
    8. Bliss, Christopher & Nalebuff, Barry, 1984. "Dragon-slaying and ballroom dancing: The private supply of a public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1-2), pages 1-12, November.
    9. Tabellini, Guido, 1986. "Money, debt and deficits in a dynamic game," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 427-442, December.
    10. Allan Drazen & Elhanan Helpman, 1987. "Stabilization with Exchange Rate Management," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 835-855.
    11. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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