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A Model of the Political Economy of the United States

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  • Alesina, Alberto
  • Londregan, John

Abstract

We develop and test a model of joint determination of economic growth and national election results in the United States. The formal model, which combines developments in the rational choice analysis of the behavior of economic agents and voters, leads to a system of equations in which the dependent variables are the growth rate and the vote shares in presidential and congressional elections. Our estimates support the theoretical claims that growth responds to unanticipated policy shifts and that voters use both on-year and midterm elections to balance the two parties. On the other hand, we find no support for "rational" retrospective voting. We do reconfirm, in a fully simultaneous framework, the "naive" retrospective voting literate's finding that the economy has a strong effect on presidential voting. We find congressional elections unaffected by the economy, except as transmitted by presidential coattails.

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  • Alesina, Alberto & Londregan, John, 1993. "A Model of the Political Economy of the United States," Scholarly Articles 4552529, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4552529
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    1. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
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    3. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
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    6. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
    7. Mohtadi, Hamid & Roe, Terry L., 1991. "Political Economy of Endogenous Growth (Revised)," Bulletins 7502, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
    8. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
    9. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
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    12. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
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