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Policy Volatility, Institutions and Economic Growth

Listed author(s):
  • Fatás, Antonio
  • Mihov, Ilian

There is a significant controversy among academics and policy-makers about whether policies matter for economic growth. Recently, Acemoglu et al. (2003) and Easterly (2004) have presented empirical evidence against the commonly held view that policies play an important role in the process of economic development. Their key conclusion is that macroeconomic policies (monetary, fiscal and trade) have an explanatory power for the cross-country variation in growth rates and income per capita only because they serve as proxies for institutions. While we confirm their results using levels of policy variables (inflation and government spending), we present evidence that policy volatility exerts a strong and direct negative impact on growth. In a cross-section of 91 countries, policy volatility emerges as a key determinant of macroeconomic performance. An increase in the volatility of fiscal policy corresponding to one standard deviation in the sample reduces long-term economic growth by about 0.75 percentage points. Political institutions have a role to play to the extent that they shape policy outcomes.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5388.

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Date of creation: Nov 2005
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5388
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  1. 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/.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James & Thaicharoen, Yunyong, 2003. "Institutional causes, macroeconomic symptoms: volatility, crises and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 49-123, January.
  3. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
  4. 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.
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  6. Martin, Philippe & Ann Rogers, Carol, 2000. "Long-term growth and short-term economic instability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 359-381, February.
  7. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2004. "Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 10481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. 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.
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  14. repec:rus:hseeco:72137 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
  16. Pushan Dutt & Devashish Mitra, 2008. "Inequality and the Instability of Polity and Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1285-1314, 08.
  17. Easterly, William, 2005. "National Policies and Economic Growth: A Reappraisal," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 1015-1059 Elsevier.
  18. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447.
  19. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-472, June.
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  22. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  23. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & María E. Muniagurria, 1996. "Policy Variability and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 611-625.
  24. 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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