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Volatility and Growth: Governments are Key

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  • Jetter, Michael

    () (University of Western Australia)

Abstract

There exists a persistent disagreement in the literature over the effect of business cycles on economic growth. This paper offers a solution to this disagreement, suggesting that volatility carries a positive direct effect, but also a negative indirect effect, operating through the insurance mechanism of government size. Theoretically, the net growth effect of volatility is then ambiguous. The paper reveals the underlying endogeneity of government size in a balanced panel of 95 countries from 1961 - 2010. In practice, the negative indirect channel dominates in democracies, but with less power to choose public services in autocratic regimes the positive direct effect takes over. Consequently, volatile growth rates are detrimental to growth in democracies, but beneficial to growth in autocracies. The empirical results suggest that a one standard deviation increase of volatility lowers growth by up to 0.57 percentage points in a democracy, but raises growth by 1.74 percentage points in a total autocracy. These findings point to a crucial intermediating role of governments in the relationship between volatility and growth. Both the size of the public sector and the regime form assume key roles.

Suggested Citation

  • Jetter, Michael, 2013. "Volatility and Growth: Governments are Key," IZA Discussion Papers 7826, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7826
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    Cited by:

    1. Marta Gómez-Puig & Simón Javier Sosvilla-Rivero, 2016. "Debt-growth linkages in EMU across countries and time horizons," Working Papers del Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales 1602, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-16-00684 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dimitrios Bakas & Georgios Chortareas & Georgios Magkonis, 2017. "Volatility and Growth: A not so straightforward relationship," Working Paper series 17-12, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    4. Michael Jetter & Bei Li, 2017. "The Political Economy of Opposition Groups: Peace, Terrorism, or Civil Conflict," CESifo Working Paper Series 6747, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Onyimadu, Chukwuemeka, 2016. "Macroeconomic Volatility and Economic Growth: Evidence from Selected African Countries," MPRA Paper 77200, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Islam, Muhammed N., 2015. "Economic growth, repression, and state expenditure in non-democratic regimes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 68-85.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    government size; economic growth; volatility; regime form; business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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