Political Competition and Convergence to Fundamentals: With Application to the Politcal Business Cycle and the Size of the Public Sector
We address the problem of how to investigate whether economics, or politics, or both, matter in the explanation of public policy. We first pose the problem in a particular context by uncovering a political business cycle (using Canadian data for 130 years) and by taking up the challenge to make this fact meaningful by finding a transmission mechanism through actual public choices. Since the cycle is in real growth and it is reasonable to suppose that public expenditure would be involved, we then focus on investigation of the role of (partisan and opportunistic) political factors, as opposed to economics, in the evolution of government size. We ask whether the data allow us to distinguish between the convergence and the nonconvergence hypotheses. Convergence means that political competition forces public spending to converge in the long run to a level dictated by endowments, tastes and technology. Nonconvergence is taken to mean that political factors other than the degree of political competition prevent convergence to that long run. The general idea here is that a political factor can clearly be said to play a role in the evolution of public choices if it can be shown to lead to departures from a dynamic path defined by economic fundamentals in a competitive political system. The results of applying cointegration and error correction modeling to implement this idea indicate that public expenditure cannot serve as the required transmission mechanism. Of the political factors considered, only variation in the degree of political competition leads to substantial departures of public expenditure from its long run path defined by economic fundamentals. We conclude with some general implications of the analysis for future research.
|Date of creation:||27 Oct 2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published: Carleton Economic Papers|
|Note:||JEL codes: H1, H3, H5|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
|Order Information:|| Email: |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Leonard Dudley & Ulrich Witt, 2004. "Arms and the Man: World War I and the Rise of the Welfare State," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 475-504, November.
- Grant L. Reuber, 1978. "Canadian Economic Policy: Some Perspectives Suggested by the Work of Harry Johnson," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 11(4), pages 121-40, November.
- James G. MacKinnon, 1995.
"Numerical Distribution Functions for Unit Root and Cointegration Tests,"
918, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- MacKinnon, James G, 1996. "Numerical Distribution Functions for Unit Root and Cointegration Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 601-18, Nov.-Dec..
- Larry M. Bartels & Henry E. Brady, 2003. "Economic Behavior in Political Context," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 156-161, May.
- Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
- Apostolos Serletis & Panos C. Afxentiou, 1998. "Electoral and Partisan Cycle Regularities in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 28-46, February.
- Stanley L. Winer, 1986. "The Role of Exchange Rate Flexibility in the International Transmission of Inflation in Long and Shorter Runs: Canada, 1953 to 1981," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(1), pages 62-86, February.
- Canova, Fabio, 1998.
"Detrending and business cycle facts,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 475-512, May.
- Stanley Winer, 1986. "Money and politics in a small open economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 221-239, January.
- Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
- Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005.
"Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel.M Sturm, 2005. "Political competition and economic performance: theory and evidence from the United States," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3770, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Besley, Timothy & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel, 2006. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," Discussion Papers in Economics 769, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson & Daniel Sturm, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 11484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Saikkonen, Pentti, 1991. "Asymptotically Efficient Estimation of Cointegration Regressions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 1-21, March.
- Gregory, A.W. & Hansen, B.E., 1992.
"Residual-Based Tests for Cointegration in Models with Regime Shifts,"
RCER Working Papers
335, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Gregory, Allan W. & Hansen, Bruce E., 1996. "Residual-based tests for cointegration in models with regime shifts," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 99-126, January.
- Allan w. Gregory & Bruce E. Hansen, 1992. "residual-Based Tests for Cointegration in Models with Regime Shifts," Working Papers 862, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
- Alan T. Peacock & Jack Wiseman, 1961. "The Growth of Public Expenditure in the United Kingdom," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number peac61-1.
- Levitt, Steven D & Poterba, James M, 1999.
" Congressional Distributive Politics and State Economic Performance,"
Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 185-216, April.
- Steven D. Levitt & James M. Poterba, 1994. "Congressional Distributive Politics and State Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 4721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ronald Kneebone & Kenneth McKenzie, 2001.
"Electoral and Partisan Cycles in Fiscal Policy: An Examination of Canadian Provinces,"
International Tax and Public Finance,
Springer, vol. 8(5), pages 753-774, November.
- Kneebone, R.D. & McKenzie, K.J., 1998. "Electoral and Partisan Cycles in Fiscal Policy: an Examination of Canadian Provinces," Papers 98-06, Calgary - Department of Economics.
- Mattias Erlandsson, 2004. "Partisan Differences in Swedish Macroeconomic Policy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 205-220, 07.
- Canova, Fabio, 1998. "Detrending and business cycle facts: A user's guide," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 533-540, May.
- Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
- Borcherding, Thomas E., 1985. "The causes of government expenditure growth: A survey of the U.S. evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 359-382, December.
- J.Stephen Ferris & Stanley L. Winer, 1999. "Searching for Keynes," Carleton Economic Papers 99-06, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2008.
- Andrikopoulos, Andreas A. & Prodromidis, Kyprianos P. & Serletis, Apostolos, 1998. "Electoral and Partisan Cycle Regularities: A Cointegration Test," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 119-140, April.
- Gabriella Legrenzi, 2004. "The Displacement Effect in the Growth of Governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 191-204, 07.
- Heckelman, Jac C, 2002. " Electoral Uncertainty and the Macroeconomy: The Evidence from Canada," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 179-89, October.
- Reid, Bradford G, 1998. " Endogenous Elections, Electoral Budget Cycles and Canadian Provincial Governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 35-48, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:car:carecp:05-09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Renee Lortie)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.