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Is the political business cycle for real?

  • S. Brock Blomberg
  • Gregory D. Hess

This paper's macroeconomic model combines features from both real and political business cycle models. It augments a standard real business cycle tax model by allowing for varying levels of government partisanship and competence in order to replicate two important empirical regularities: First, that on average the economy expands early under Democratic presidents and contracts early under Republican presidents. Second, that presidents whose parties successfully retain the presidency have stronger-than-average growth in the second half of their terms. The model generates both of these features in conformity with U.S. post-World War II data.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0016.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0016
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  1. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," NBER Working Papers 1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alesina, A. & Londregan, J.A. & Rosenthal, H., 1990. "A Model Of The Political Economy Of The United States," GSIA Working Papers 1990-27, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1988. "Political Parties and the Business Cycle in the United States, 1948-1984," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(1), pages 63-82, February.
  4. Ludvigson, Sydney, 1996. "The macroeconomic effects of government debt in a stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 25-45, August.
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  6. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 403-14, July.
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  8. Roubini, Nouriel & Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Scholarly Articles 4553025, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Timothy Cogley & James M. Nason, 1993. "Output dynamics in real business cycle models," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 93-10, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. S. Brock Blomberg & Gregory D. Hess, 1996. "Politics and exchange rate forecasts," Research Working Paper 96-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  11. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
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  16. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
  17. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  18. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. Robert J. Barro, 1981. "On the Predictability of Tax-Rate Changes," NBER Working Papers 0636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  21. Ellen R. McGrattan, 1994. "A progress report on business cycle models," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 2-16.
  22. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-78, August.
  23. Christopher J. Waller, 1998. "Appointing the median voter of a policy board," Working Paper 9802, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  24. Sachs, Jeffrey & Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Political Parties and the Business Cycle in the United States, 1948-1984," Scholarly Articles 4553026, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  25. Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative Would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-45, May.
  26. Faust, Jon & Irons, John S., 1999. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 61-89, February.
  27. David S. Bizer & Steven N. Durlauf, 1990. "Testing the Positive Theory of Government Finance," NBER Working Papers 3349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
  29. Plosser, C.I., 1989. "Understanding Real Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 198, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  30. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1991. "Productive externalities and business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  31. Jon Faust & John Irons, 1996. "Money, politics and the post-war business cycle," International Finance Discussion Papers 572, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  32. S. Brock Blomberg & Gerald D. Cohen, 1994. "Scoring political economy models: a multiple equilibrium approach," Research Paper 9410, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  33. Alesina, Alberto & Londregan, John, 1993. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States," Scholarly Articles 4552529, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  34. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
  35. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  36. Ni, Shawn, 1995. "An empirical analysis on the substitutability between private consumption and government purchases," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 593-605, December.
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