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Elections, Fiscal Policy and Growth: Revisiting the Mechanism

Author

Listed:
  • George Economides
  • Apostolis Philippopoulos
  • Simon Price

Abstract

This short paper reconsiders the popular result that the lower the probability of getting reelected, the stronger the incumbent politicians’ incentive to follow short-sighted, inefficient policies. The set-up is a general equilibrium model of endogenous growth and optimal fiscal policy, in which two political parties can alternate in power. We show that re-election uncertainty is not enough to produce the popular result. Specifically, re-election uncertainty must be combined with the hypothesis that politicians care about economic outcomes more when in power than when out of power, and - more importantly - that this preference over being in power is ad hoc. That is, if politicians can also choose how much to care about economic outcomes when in and out of power, it is optimal to care the same and hence shortsighted policies do not arise. Therefore, such policies presuppose a degree of irrationality on the part of political parties.

Suggested Citation

  • George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Simon Price, 2002. "Elections, Fiscal Policy and Growth: Revisiting the Mechanism," CESifo Working Paper Series 691, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_691
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo_wp691.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918, August.
    2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    3. Kollintzas, T. & Philippopoulos, A. & Vasillatos, V., 1999. "Is Tax Policy Coordination Necessary?," DEOS Working Papers 110, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    4. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    5. Lockwood, Ben & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Snell, Andy, 1996. "Fiscal Policy, Public Debt Stabilisation and Politics: Theory and UK Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 894-911, July.
    6. George Economides & Jim Malley & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Ulrich Woitek, 2003. "Electoral Uncertainty, Fiscal Policies & Growth: Theory and Evidence from Germany, the UK and the US," CESifo Working Paper Series 1072, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Avinash Dixit, 1991. "Analytical Approximations in Models of Hysteresis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 141-151.
    8. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    9. 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.
    10. George Economides & Jim Malley & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Ulrich Woitek, 2003. "Electoral Uncertainty, Fiscal Policies and Growth: Theory and Evidence from Germany, the UK and the US," Working Papers 2003_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    11. Malley, Jim & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Economides, George, 2002. "Testing for tax smoothing in a general equilibrium model of growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-315, June.
    12. Malley, Jim & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Woitek, Ulrich, 2007. "Electoral uncertainty, fiscal policy and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 1051-1080, March.
    13. Devereux, Michael B. & Wen, Jean-Francois, 1998. "Political instability, capital taxation, and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1635-1651, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. George Economides & Jim Malley & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Ulrich Woitek, 2003. "Electoral Uncertainty, Fiscal Policies and Growth: Theory and Evidence from Germany, the UK and the US," Working Papers 2003_16, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    2. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & George Economides, 2005. "Rent Seeking, Policy and Growth under Electoral Uncertainty: Theory and Evidence," DEGIT Conference Papers c010_029, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.

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