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Elections and the Timing of Devaluations

  • Ernesto H. Stein
  • Jorge M. Streb

This paper presents a rational political budget cycle model for the open economy, in which devaluations are delayed in the run-up to elections, in order to increase the electoral chances of the party in office. By concentrating on the closed economy, previous political cycle models had overlooked the influence of elections on the behavior of exchange rates. We introduce voter uncertainty in two different dimensions. Not only are voters uncertain regarding the competency of the incumbent. They also ignore the degree to which the incumbent is opportunistic, i.e. willing to distort the economy for electoral gain. When there is only uncertainty about competence, we obtain a separating equilibrium, like in the previous political budget cycle literature. However, when uncertainty about opportunism is introduced, a partially pooling equilibrium emerges: an incompetent, opportunistic incumbent delays a devaluation until after elections, mimicking a competent incumbent, while the competent does not distort the optimal pattern of the exchange rate, regardless of the degree of opportunism. The model's prediction that there is a tendency to delay devaluations until after elections is used to look at the empirical evidence on devaluations around elections.

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Paper provided by Universidad del CEMA in its series CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. with number 140.

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Date of creation: Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cem:doctra:140
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  1. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  3. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  4. Ernesto H. Stein & Jorge M. Streb, 1997. "Political Stabilization Cycles in High Inflation Economies," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 123, Universidad del CEMA.
  5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth Rogoff, 1995. "The mirage of fixed exchange rates," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 95-08, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden, 2000. "The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy in Latin America: An Analytical Overview," Research Department Publications 3118, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
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  9. Sebastian Edwards, 1993. "The Political Economy of Infaliton and Stabilization in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 4319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jorge M. Streb, 2001. "Signaling in Political Cycles. How far are you willing to go?," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 193, Universidad del CEMA.
  11. Reinhart, Carmen & Vegh, Carlos, 1994. "Intertemporal consumption substitution and inflation stabilization:An empirical investigation," MPRA Paper 13427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Juan P. Nicolini, 1993. "More on the time inconsistency of optimal monetary policy," Economics Working Papers 56, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Ernesto H. Stein & Jeffry Frieden & Piero Ghezzi, 2000. "Politics and Exchange Rates: A Cross-Country Approach to Latin America," Research Department Publications 3119, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  15. Klein, Michael W. & Marion, Nancy P., 1997. "Explaining the duration of exchange-rate pegs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 387-404, December.
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  17. Eliana Cardoso, 1991. "From Inertia to Megainflation: Brazil in the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 3585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1986. "Temporary Stabilization: Predetermined Exchange Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(6), pages 1319-29, December.
  19. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, August.
  20. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1975. "The Years of Plenty and the Years of Famine-A Political Business Cycle?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 400-403.
  21. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Equilibrium in a Pure Currency Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 203-20, April.
  22. Edwards, Sebastian, 1994. "The Political Economy of Inflation and Stabilization in Developing Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 235-66, January.
  23. Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1998. "More on the time consistency of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 333-350, April.
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