IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Electoral Uncertainty, Fiscal Policies and Growth: Theory and Evidence from Germany, the UK and the US

  • George Economides
  • Jim Malley
  • Apostolis Philippopoulos
  • Ulrich Woitek

In this paper we study the link between elections, fiscal policy and economic growth/fluctuations. The set-up is a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of growth and endogenously chosen fiscal policy, in which two political parties can alternate in power. The party in office chooses jointly how much to tax and how to allocate its total expenditure between public consumption and production services. The main theoretical prediction is that forward-looking incumbents, with uncertain prospects of re-election, find it optimal to follow relatively shortsighted fiscal policies, and that this lowers economic growth. The model is estimated using quarterly data for Germany, the UK and the US from 1960 to 1999. Our econometric results provide clear support for the main theoretical prediction. They also give plausible and significant estimates for the productivity of public production services, the weight which households place on public consumption services relative to private consumption and the time discount rate. Moreover, we find that changes in electoral uncertainty produce the longest lasting fluctuations in the European economies followed by the US.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2003_16.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2003_16
Contact details of provider: Postal: Adam Smith Building, Glasgow G12 8RT
Phone: 0141 330 4618
Fax: 0141 330 4940
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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.:

as in new window
  1. Kevin J. Lansing, 1998. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model with Public Capital," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(2), pages 337-364, May.
  2. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Campbell, John Y., 1994. "Inspecting the mechanism: An analytical approach to the stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 463-506, June.
  5. Fabrizio Carmignani, 2003. "Political Instability, Uncertainty and Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-54, February.
  6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  7. Jang-Ting Guo & Kevin J. Lansing, 1998. "Optimal taxation of capital income with imperfectly competitive product markets," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  8. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2005. "International Unions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 602-615, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Park, Hyun & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 2003. "On the dynamics of growth and fiscal policy with redistributive transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 515-538, March.
  13. Steve Ambler & Alain Paquet, 1993. "Fiscal Spending Shocks, Endogenous Government Spending and Real Business Cycles," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 14, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  14. Campbell, John, 1993. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Without Consumption Data," Scholarly Articles 3221491, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  16. Park, Hyun & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 2004. "Indeterminacy and fiscal policies in a growing economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 645-660, January.
  17. repec:bla:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:3:p:403-14 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Devereux, Michael B. & Wen, Jean-Francois, 1998. "Political instability, capital taxation, and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1635-1651, November.
  19. Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, December.
    • Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, December.
  20. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1994. "Public investment in infrastructure in a simple growth model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1173-1187, November.
  21. Price, Simon & Sanders, David, 1994. "Economic Competence, Rational Expectations and Government Popularity in Post-War Britain," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 62(3), pages 296-312, September.
  22. Bennett T. McCallum, 1988. "Real Business Cycle Models," NBER Working Papers 2480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. McGrattan, Ellen R., 1994. "The macroeconomic effects of distortionary taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 573-601, June.
  24. King, Robert G & Rebelo, Sergio, 1990. "Public Policy and Economic Growth: Developing Neoclassical Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S126-50, October.
  25. Andrés Velasco & Jess Benhabib & Aldo Rustichini, 2001. "Public spending and optimal taxes without commitment," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 371-396.
  26. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  27. repec:oup:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:3:p:789-808 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  29. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16.
  30. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
  31. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 3612769, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  32. Alogoskoufis, George & Lockwood, Ben & Philippopoulos, Apostolis, 1992. "Wage Inflation, Electoral Uncertainty and the Exchange Rate Regime: Theory and UK Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 657, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  33. Demetriades, Panicos O & Mamuneas, Theofanis P, 2000. "Intertemporal Output and Employment Effects of Public Infrastructure Capital: Evidence from 12 OECD Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 687-712, July.
  34. 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.
  35. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Simon Price, 2002. "Elections, Fiscal Policy and Growth: Revisiting the Mechanism," CESifo Working Paper Series 691, CESifo Group Munich.
  36. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
  37. Avinash Dixit & Gene M. Grossman & Faruk Gul, 2000. "The Dynamics of Political Compromise," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 531-568, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2003_16. 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: (Jeanette Findlay)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.