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What Determines Long-Run Macroeconomic Stability? Democratic Institutions

Author

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  • Arvind Subramanian
  • Shanker Satyanath

Abstract

We examine the deep determinants of long-run macroeconomic stability in a cross-country framework. We find that conflict, openness, and democratic political institutions have a strong and statistically significant causal impact on macroeconomic stability. Surprisingly the most robust relationship of the three is for democratic institutions. A one standard deviation increase in democracy can reduce nominal instability nearly fourfold. This impact is robust to alternative measures of democracy, samples, covariates, and definitions of conflict. It is particularly noteworthy that a variety of nominal pathologies discussed in the recent macroeconomic literature, such as procyclical policy, original sin, and debt intolerance, have common origins in weak democratic institutions. We also find evidence that democratic institutions both strongly influence monetary policy and have a strong, independent positive effect on stability after controlling for various policy variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Arvind Subramanian & Shanker Satyanath, 2004. "What Determines Long-Run Macroeconomic Stability? Democratic Institutions," IMF Working Papers 04/215, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:04/215
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giavazzi, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2005. "Economic and political liberalizations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1297-1330, October.
    2. Vatcharin Sirimaneetham, 2006. "Explaining policy volatility in developing countries," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 06/583, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Filipe R. Campante & Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Why is Fiscal Policy Often Procyclical?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1006-1036, September.
    5. Győrffy, Dóra, 2008. "Költségvetési kiigazítás és növekedés az Európai Unióban. Tanulságok Magyarország számára
      [Budget adjustment and growth in the European Union lessons for Hungary]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 962-986.
    6. Salahodjaev, Raufhon, 2015. "Does intelligence help fighting inflation: an empirical test?," MPRA Paper 66882, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Ahmad Zafarullah Abdul Jalil & Mukaramah Harun & Siti Hadijah Che Mat, 2012. "Macroeconomic Instability and Fiscal Decentralization: An Empirical Analysis," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(2), pages 150-165.
    8. Raghuram G. Rajan & Ioannis Tokatlidis, 2005. "Dollar Shortages and Crises," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
    9. Kapstein, Ethan & Converse, Nathan, 2006. "The Economics of Young Democracies: Policies and Performance," MPRA Paper 553, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Ethan Kapstein & Nathan Converse, 2006. "The Economics of Young Democracies: Policies and Performance," Working Papers 85, Center for Global Development.
    11. Robert Lavigne, 2006. "The Institutional and Political Determinants of Fiscal Adjustment," Staff Working Papers 06-1, Bank of Canada.
    12. Lavigne, Robert, 2011. "The political and institutional determinants of fiscal adjustment: Entering and exiting fiscal distress," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 17-35, March.
    13. Christopher Bowdler & Adeel Malik, 2005. "Openness and inflation volatility: Cross-country evidence," Economics Papers 2005-W14, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    14. Arvind Subramanian & Shanker Satyanath, 2008. "The Political Economy of Nominal Macroeconomic Pathologies," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 55(1), pages 3-37, March.
    15. Cleeve, Emmanuel A. & Debrah, Yaw & Yiheyis, Zelealem, 2015. "Human Capital and FDI Inflow: An Assessment of the African Case," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1-14.

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