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Author:Azzimonti-Renzo, Marina 

Working Paper
Financial globalization, inequality, and the raising of public debt

During the last three decades, the stock of government debt has increased in most developed countries. During the same period, we also observe a significant liberalization of international financial markets and an increase in income inequality in several industrialized countries. In this paper we propose a multicountry political economy model with incomplete markets and endogenous government borrowing and show that governments choose higher levels of public debt when financial markets become internationally integrated and inequality increases. We also conduct an empirical analysis using OECD ...
Working Papers , Paper 12-6

Working Paper
Polarized business cycles

We are motivated by four stylized facts computed for emerging and developed economies: (i) business cycle movements are wider in emerging countries; (ii) economies in emerging countries experience greater economic policy uncertainty; (iii) emerging economies are more polarized and less politically stable; and (iv) economic policy uncertainty is positively related to political polarization. We show that a standard real business cycle (RBC) model augmented to incorporate political polarization, a `polarized business cycle' (PBC) model, is consistent with these facts. Our main hypothesis is that ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-44

Working Paper
The political polarization index

American politics have become increasingly polarized in recent decades. To the extent that political polarization introduces uncertainty about economic policy, this pattern may have adversely affected the economy. According to existing theories, a rise in the volatility of fiscal shocks faced by individuals should result in a decline in economic activity. Moreover, if polarization is high around election dates, businesses and households may be induced to delay decisions that involve high reversibility costs (such as investment or hiring under search costs). Testing these theories has been ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-41

Working Paper
The dynamics of public investment under persistent electoral advantage

This paper studies the effects of asymmetries in re-election probabilities across parties on public policy and their subsequent propagation to the economy. The struggle between groups that disagree on targeted public spending (e.g., pork) results in governments being endogenously short-sighted: Systematic underinvestment in infrastructure and overspending on targeted goods arise, above and beyond what is observed in symmetric environments. Because the party enjoying an electoral advantage is less short-sighted, it devotes a larger proportion of revenues to productive investment. Hence, ...
Working Papers , Paper 13-43

Working Paper
Partisan conflict

American politics have become extremely polarized in recent decades. This deep political divide has caused significant government dysfunction. Political divisions make the timing, size, and composition of government policy less predictable. According to existing theories, an increase in the degree of economic policy uncertainty or in the volatility of fiscal shocks results in a decline in economic activity. This occurs because businesses and households may be induced to delay decisions that involve high reversibility costs. In addition, disagreement between policymakers may result in ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-19

Working Paper
The political economy of labor subsidies

We explore a political economy model of labor subsidies, extending Meltzer and Richard's median voter model to a dynamic setting. We explore only one source of heterogeneity: initial wealth. As a consequence, given an operative wealth effect, poorer agents work harder, and if the agent with median wealth is poorer than average, a politico-economic equilibrium will feature a subsidy to labor. The dynamic model does not have capital, but it has perfect markets for borrowing and lending. Because tax rates influence interest rates, another channel for redistribution appears, since a decrease in ...
Working Paper , Paper 06-09

Working Paper
Optimal public investment with and without government commitment

We analyze the problem of optimal public investment when government purchases of productive capital assets are financed through income taxes. Virtually all previous work in this literature has prescribed a share of public investment in GDP that is both constant and time consistent. This paper shows that this straightforward prescription derives from specific assumptions relating to preferences and technology. In a more general framework, the optimal policy is neither constant nor time consistent. With full commitment, a policymaker will typically choose a tax rate, or alternatively a share of ...
Working Paper , Paper 03-10

Working Paper
Partisan cycles and the consumption volatility puzzle

Standard real business cycle theory predicts that consumption should be smoother than output, as observed in developed countries. In emerging economies, however, consumption is more volatile than income. In this paper the authors provide a novel explanation of this phenomenon, the ?consumption volatility puzzle,? based on political frictions. They develop a dynamic stochastic political economy model where parties that disagree on the size of government (right-wing and left-wing) alternate in power and face aggregate uncertainty. While productivity shocks affect only consumption through ...
Working Papers , Paper 11-21

Working Paper
The dynamics of public investment under persistent electoral advantage

This paper studies the effects of asymmetries in re-election probabilities across parties on public policy and its subsequent propagation to the economy. The struggle between opposing groups ? that disagree on the composition of public consumption ? results in governments being endogenously short-sighted: Systematic under investment in infrastructure and overspending on public goods arise, as resources are more valuable when in power. Because the party enjoying an electoral advantage is relatively less short-sighted, it devotes a larger proportion of government revenues to productive public ...
Working Papers , Paper 11-23

Report
Pandemic Control in ECON-EPI Networks

We develop an ECON-EPI network model to evaluate policies designed to improve health and economic outcomes during a pandemic. Relative to the standard epidemiological SIR set-up, we explicitly model social contacts among individuals and allow for heterogeneity in their number and stability. In addition, we embed the network in a structural economic model describing how contacts generate economic activity. We calibrate it to the New York metro area during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis and show three main results. First, the ECON-EPI network implies patterns of infections that better match the data ...
Staff Report , Paper 609

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