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The Political Economy of Public Income Volatility: With an Application to the Resource Curse

Listed author(s):
  • James A. Robinson

    ()

  • Ragnar Torvik

    ()

  • Theirry Verdier

    ()

We develop a model of the political consequences of public income volatility. As is standard, political incentives create inefficient policies, but we show that making income uncertain creates specific new effects. Future volatility reduces the benefit of being in power, making policy more efficient. Yet at the same time it also reduces the re-election probability of an incumbent and since some of the policy inefficiencies are concentrated in the future, this makes inefficient policy less costly. We show how this model can help think about the connection between volatility and economic growth and in the case where volatility comes from volatile natural resource prices, a characteristic of many developing countries, we show that volatility in itself is a source of inefficient resource extraction.

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File URL: https://www.bi.edu/contentassets/06c294b740ec40fc84431aca7b26299e/working_camp_3-2015.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School in its series Working Papers with number No 3/2015.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:bny:wpaper:0031
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  1. 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.
  2. Aghion, Philippe & Angeletos, George-Marios & Banerjee, Abhijit & Manova, Kalina, 2010. "Volatility and growth: Credit constraints and the composition of investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 246-265, April.
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  5. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2010. "Aggressive oil extraction and precautionary saving: Coping with volatility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(5-6), pages 421-433, June.
  6. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2006. "Political foundations of the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 447-468, April.
  7. Francesco Caselli & Guy Michaels, 2013. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 208-238, January.
  8. Acemoglu, Daron & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 1997. "Was Prometheus Unbound by Chance? Risk, Diversification, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 709-751, August.
  9. Norman V. Loayza & Romain Rancière & Luis Servén & Jaume Ventura, 2007. "Macroeconomic Volatility and Welfare in Developing Countries: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(3), pages 343-357, October.
  10. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Poelhekke, Steven, 2010. "The pungent smell of "red herrings": Subsoil assets, rents, volatility and the resource curse," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 44-55, July.
  11. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar, 2009. "A political economy theory of the soft budget constraint," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 786-798, October.
  12. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
  13. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
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  18. James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "The Political Economy of Clientelism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 260-291, April.
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  20. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
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  22. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
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  25. Aghion, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2005. "Volatility and Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248612.
  26. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00846558 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Bruno Biais & Enrico Perotti, 2002. "Machiavellian Privatization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 240-258, March.
  28. Frederick van der Ploeg & Steven Poelhekke, 2009. "Volatility and the natural resource curse," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 727-760, October.
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