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Macroeconomics and Politics in the Accumulation of Greece’s Debt: An econometric investigation, 1975-2009

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  • George Alogoskoufis

Abstract

This paper focuses on an econometric investigation of the macroeconomic and political factors that contributed to Greece’s excessive debt accumulation and its failure to adequately address its fiscal imbalances, from the restoration of democracy in 1974 till the crisis of 2009. The econometric investigation is based on a model in which two political parties alternate in power, and in which governments choose primary expenditure and taxes to minimize deviations from politically determined expenditure and tax targets, subject to a debt accumulation equation. The model predicts a political equilibrium in which primary expenditure and taxes follow feedback rules which go in the direction of stabilizing the debt to GDP ratio. However, this stabilization incentive is weaker in election years. The model also predicts potential partisan differences in the evolution of primary expenditure and taxes, due to the different preferences of political parties. Estimates of government reaction functions to public debt for the period 1975-2009 suggest a rather weak stabilizing reaction of primary deficits to public debt. This stabilizing reaction disappears in election years, which are characterized by strong fiscal expansions. We find no evidence of partisan differences in the reaction of primary deficits to inherited debt, but we do find evidence of lower primary deficits in the post-1992 Maastricht treaty period. Overall the model accounts for the accumulation of Greece’s government debt in terms of the trend increase in primary expenditure, the positive shocks to primary expenditure in election years and the weak stabilizing reaction of government revenue, due to tax smoothing.

Suggested Citation

  • George Alogoskoufis, 2013. "Macroeconomics and Politics in the Accumulation of Greece’s Debt: An econometric investigation, 1975-2009," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 68, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:hel:greese:68
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    1. Greece from Postwar Orthodoxy to “Democratic Peronism”
      by pseudoerasmus in Pseudoerasmus on 2015-02-23 12:01:23

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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Mamatzakis, 2013. "Are there any Animal Spirits behind the Scenes of the Euro area Sovereign Debt Crisis?," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 72, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    2. Manussos Marangudakis & Kostas Rontos & Maria Xenitidou, 2013. "State Crisis and Civil Consciousness in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 77, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    3. Spyros Kosmidis, 2013. "Government Constraints and Economic Voting in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 70, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    4. Athanasia Chalari & Clive Sealey & Mike Webb, 2016. "A Comparison of Subjective Experiences and Responses to Austerity of UK and Greek Youth," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 102, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    5. Jordaan, Jacob A. & Monastiriotis, Vassilis, 2016. "The domestic productivity effects of FDI in Greece: loca(lisa)tion matters!," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68816, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Stavros B. Thomadakis, 2015. "Growth, Debt and Sovereignty: Prolegomena to the Greek Crisis," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 91, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    7. Yannis Tsirbas & Dimitri Sotiropoulos, 2015. "What Greek political elites think about Europe and the crisis? An exploratory analysis," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 93, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    8. Nicholas APERGIS & Arusha COORAY, 2013. "New Evidence on the Remedies of the Greek Sovereign Debt Problem," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 79, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    9. Nick Papandreou, 2014. "Life in the First Person and the Art of Political Storytelling:The Rhetoric of Andreas Papandreou," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 85, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    10. Yiannos Katsourides, 2013. "Political Parties and Trade Unions in Cyprus," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 74, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    11. Monokroussos, Platon & Thomakos, Dimitrios, D. & Alexopoulos, Thomas A., 2016. "The determinants of loan loss provisions:an analysis of the Greek banking systemin light of the sovereign debt crisis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68586, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Vassilis Monastiriotis & Angelo Martelli, 2013. "Beyond Rising Unemployment: Unemployment Risk, Crisis and Regional Adjustments in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 80, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    13. Rosa VAsilaki, 2016. "Policing the crisis in Greece: The others' side of the story," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 98, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    14. Chalari, Athanasia & Sealey, Clive & Webb, Mike, 2016. "A comparison of subjective experiencesand responses to austerity of UK andGreek youth," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68585, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Kostas Ifantis, 2013. "The US and Turkey in the fog of Regional Uncertainty," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 73, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    16. Kougias, Konstantinos, 2017. "‘Real’ flexicurity worlds in action: evidence from Denmark and Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69576, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Kosmidis, Spyros, 2013. "Government constraints and economic voting in Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50259, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Prodromos Vlamis, 2013. "Greek Fiscal Crisis and Repercussions for the Property Market," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 76, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    19. Konstantinos Kougias, 2017. "‘Real’ Flexicurity Worlds in action: Evidence from Denmark and Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 106, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    20. Stavros Thomadakis, Dimitrios Gounopoulos, Christos Nounis and Michalis Riginos, 2014. "Financial Innovation and Growth: Listings and IPOs from 1880 to World War II in the Athens Stock Exchange," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 86, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    21. Vassilis Arapoglou, Kostas Gounis, 2015. "Poverty and Homelessness in Athens: Governance and the Rise of an Emergency Model of Social Crisis Management," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 90, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    macroeconomics and politics; government debt; primary deficit; stabilization; elections; political parties; Greece;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling

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