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Policy Volatility, Institutions, and Economic Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio Fatás

    (CEPR)

  • Ilian Mihov

    (INSEAD)

Abstract

In this paper, we present evidence that policy volatility exerts a strong and direct negative impact on growth. Using data for 93 countries, we construct measures of policy volatility based on the standard deviation of the residuals from country-specific regressions of government consumption on output. Undisciplined governments that implement frequent and large changes in government spending unrelated to the state of the business cycle generate lower economic growth. We employ both instrumental variables and panel estimation to address concerns of omitted variables and endogeneity. A 1 standard deviation increase in policy volatility reduces long-term economic growth by about 0.74% in the panel regressions and by more than 1 percentage point in the cross-section. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2013. "Policy Volatility, Institutions, and Economic Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 362-376, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:2:p:362-376
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
    2. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-1151, December.
    3. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 2002. "It´s Not Factor Accumulation: Stylized Facts and Growth Models," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Norman Loayza & Raimundo Soto & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Editor) (ed.), Economic Growth: Sources, Trends, and Cycles, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 3, pages 061-114 Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
    5. Ernesto Talvi & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Tax Base Variability and Procyclical Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Steve Bond & Asli Leblebicioglu & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2010. "Capital accumulation and growth: a new look at the empirical evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(7), pages 1073-1099, November/.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    policy volatility; economic growth; government spending;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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