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How Do Politicians Save? Buffer Stock Management of Unemployment Insurance Finance

  • Steven Craig

    ()

    (University of Houston)

  • Wided Hemissi

    ()

    (University of Houston)

  • Satadru Mukherjee

    ()

    (University of Memphis)

  • Bent E. Sorensen

    ()

    (University of Houston)

This paper uses Carroll's (1992) buffer stock model to study government savings behavior exemplifi ed by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs of U.S. states from 1976 to 2008. We find strong empirical support for the model from regressions and simulations. Empirically, we fi nd that political consump- tion, defi ned in the context of the model from discretionary components of UI benefi ts and taxes, rises when savings and other spendable resources rises. We calibrate and simulate the model using the methodology pioneered by Jappelli, Padula, and Pistaferri (2008) and we find the model fits well. A key implica- tion is that intertemporal planning by governments is expressed by a trade-off between impatience (politicians' desire to immediately expend all savings) and risk aversion (politicians' fear of running out of resources to support UI). We quantify the amount of fiscal stimulus from the UI program under buffer stock saving.

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File URL: http://www.uh.edu/econpapers/RePEc/hou/wpaper/201302845.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Houston in its series Working Papers with number 201302845.

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Date of creation: 20 Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:201302845
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  1. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  2. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
  3. Deaton, A., 1989. "Saving And Liquidity Constraints," Papers 153, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance with Endogenous Private Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 85-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Walter Nicholson Karen Needels, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance Strengthening the Relationship Between Theory and Policy," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 062881e2c70d4513829b70fee, Mathematica Policy Research.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Sørensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1999. "Output Fluctuations and Fiscal Policy: US State and Local Governments 1978-1994," CEPR Discussion Papers 2286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Lars-Erik Borge & Per Tovmo, 2009. "Myopic or Constrained by Balanced-Budget Rules? The Intertemporal Spending Behavior of Norwegian Local Governments," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(2), pages 200-219, June.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
  11. Poterba, James M., 1995. "Balanced Budget Rules and Fiscal Policy: Evidence From the States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(3), pages 329-36, September.
  12. Aidt, T.S. & Veiga, F.J. & Veiga, L.G., 2009. "Election Results and Opportunistic Policies: A New Test of the Rational Political Business Cycle Model," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0934, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  13. Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-345.
  14. Craig, Steven G. & Hoang, Edward C., 2011. "State government response to income fluctuations: Consumption, insurance, and capital expenditures," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 343-351, July.
  15. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Walter Nicholson & Karen Needels, 2006. "Unemployment Insurance: Strengthening the Relationship between Theory and Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 47-70, Summer.
  17. 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.
  18. Knight, Brian & Levinson, Arik, 1999. "Rainy Day Funds and State Government Savings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 459-72, September.
  19. Pierfederico Asdrubali & Bent E. Sørensen & Oved Yosha, 1996. "Channels of Interstate Risk Sharing: United States 1963–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1081-1110.
  20. Gary Wagner & Russell Sobel, 2006. "State budget stabilization fund adoption: Preparing for the next recession or circumventing fiscal constraints?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 177-199, January.
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