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Political Cycles in OECD Economies

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  • Roubini, Nouriel
  • Alesina, Alberto

Abstract

This paper studies whether the dynamic behaviour of GNP growth, unemployment and inflation is systematically affected by the timing of elections and of changes of governments. The sample includes the last three decades in 18 OECD economies. We explicitly test the implication of several models of political cycles, both of the "opportunistic" and of the "partisan" type. Also, we confront the implication of recent "rational" models with more traditional approaches. Our results can be summarized as follows: (a) The "political business cycles" hypothesis, as formulated in Nordhaus (1975) on output and unemployment is generally rejected by the data; (b) inflation tends to increase immediately after elections, perhaps as a result of pre-electoral expansionary monetary and fiscal policies; (c) we find evidence of temporary partisan differences in output and unemployment and of long-run partisan differences in the inflation rate as implied by the "rational partisan theory" by Alesina (1987); (d) we find virtually no evidence of permanent partisan differences in output growth and unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Roubini, Nouriel & Alesina, Alberto, 1992. "Political Cycles in OECD Economies," Scholarly Articles 4553025, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4553025
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    1. Steven M. Sheffrin, 1989. "Evaluating Rational Partisan Business Cycle Theory," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 239-259, November.
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    4. AriƩl Pakes & Zvi Griliches, 1984. "Estimating Distributed Lags in Short Panels with an Application to the Specification of Depreciation Patterns and Capital Stock Constructs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 243-262.
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    6. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1991. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 819-840, September.
    7. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
    8. Peter K. Clark, 1987. "The Cyclical Component of U. S. Economic Activity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 797-814.
    9. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
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