IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Political Cost of Reforms

  • Gino Gancia

    (CREI and UPF)

  • Alessandra Bonfiglioli

    (Institute for Economic Analysis)

This paper formalizes in a fully-rational model the popular idea that politicians perceive an electoral cost in adopting costly reforms with future benefits and reconciles it with the evidence that reformist governments are not punished by voters. To do so, it proposes a model of elections where political ability is ex-ante unknown and investment in reforms is unobservable. On the one hand, elections improve accountability and allow to keep well-performing incumbents. On the other, politicians make too little reforms in an attempt to signal high ability and increase their reappointment probability. Although in a rational expectation equilibrium voters cannot be fooled and hence reelection does not depend on reforms, the strategy of underinvesting in reforms is nonetheless sustained by out-of-equilibrium beliefs. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, uncertainty makes reforms more politically viable and may, under some conditions, increase social welfare. The model is then used to study how political rewards can be set so as to maximize social welfare and the desirability of imposing a one-term limit to governments. The predictions of this theory are consistent with a number of empirical regularities on the determinants of reforms and reelection. They are also consistent with a new stylized fact documented in this paper: economic uncertainty is associated to more reforms in a panel of 20 OECD countries.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2012/paper_291.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2012 Meeting Papers with number 291.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:291
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Andrea Mattozzi & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "Political Careers or Career Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 12921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marco Battaglini & Stephen Coate, 2008. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation, and Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 201-36, March.
  4. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3769, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
  6. Giovanni S.F. Bruno, 2005. "Estimation and inference in dynamic unbalanced panel data models with a small number of individuals," KITeS Working Papers 165, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jun 2005.
  7. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," NBER Working Papers 10835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Motivating Politicians: The Impacts of Monetary Incentives on Quality and Performance," NBER Working Papers 14906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniel Diermeier & Michael Keane & Antonio Merlo, 2004. "A Political Economy Model of Congressional Careers," Discussion Papers 1387, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Wolfers, Justin, 2002. "Are Voters Rational? Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections," Research Papers 1730, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  12. Mariano Tommasi & Andres Velasco, 1995. "Where Are We in the Political Economy of Reform?," Working Papers 11, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Apr 1996.
  13. Stefano Gagliarducci & Tommaso Nannicini, 2010. "Do Better Paid Politicians Perform Better? Disentangling Incentives from Selection," CEIS Research Paper 162, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 28 May 2010.
  14. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2012. "The Political Economy Of Flexicurity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 684-715, 08.
  15. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Ashoka Mody & Abdul Abiad, 2003. "Financial Reform; What Shakes it? What Shapes it?," IMF Working Papers 03/70, International Monetary Fund.
  17. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  18. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Francesco Trebbi, 2006. "Who adjusts and when? On the political economy of reforms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2108, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  19. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
  20. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  21. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti & José Tavares, 1998. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Adjustments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 197-266.
  22. A. Javier Hamann & Alessandro Prati, 2002. "Why Do Many Disinflations Fail? the Importance of Luck, Timing, and Political Institutions," IMF Working Papers 02/228, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  24. Allan Drazen & William Easterly, 2001. "Do Crises Induce Reform? Simple Empirical Tests of Conventional Wisdom," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 129-157, 07.
  25. Kiviet, Jan F., 1995. "On bias, inconsistency, and efficiency of various estimators in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 53-78, July.
  26. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
  28. Jens Høj & Vincenzo Galasso & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Thai-Thanh Dang, 2006. "The Political Economy of Structural Reform: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 501, OECD Publishing.
  29. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part II: Multiple Policy Tasks," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000875, David K. Levine.
  30. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  31. Marco Buti & Alessandro Turrini & Paul Van den Noord & Pietro Biroli, 2010. "Reforms and re-elections in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 61-116, 01.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed012:291. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.