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Politics and exchange rate forecasts
Standard exchange rate models perform poorly in out-of-sample forecasting when compared to the random walk model. We posit part of the poor performance of these models may be due to omission of political factors. We test this hypothesis by including political variables that capture party-specific, election-specific and candidate-specific characteristics. Surprisingly, we find our political model outperforms the random walk in out-of-sample forecasting at one to twelve month horizons for the pound/dollar, mark/dollar, pound/mark and the trade-weighted dollar, mark, and pound exchange rates.
The commodity-consumer price connection: fact or fable?
The recent surge in commodity prices has rekindled interest in their power to predict consumer price inflation. But is this interest warranted? In examining the empirical relationship between commodity prices and consumer price inflation, this article finds that commodities' reputation as useful leading indicators of inflation is actually based more on fable than fact. Testing eight commonly used indexes, the authors conclude that although commodities had some predictive power in the past, the commodity-consumer price connection has broken down in the more recent period. They argue that this ...
Growth, political instability, and the defense burden
This paper develops a model to examine the economic effects of political instability and military expenditure. In the model, "kleptocracies" use defense as "imperfect" insurance against the probability of being overthrown. Increasing defense has a secondary effect of augmenting the human capital stock (a spin-off effect). However, defense investment comes at the expense of consuming scarce resources (a crowding out effect). The paper's central contribution is to model each of these effects and their relationship to one another. The resulting theory predicts that the equilibrium is Pareto ...
Industry restructuring measures and productivity: evidence from the 1980s
This paper analyzes the empirical relationship between corporate restructuring and productivity. We estimate neoclassical production functions and factor demand functions to analyze the importance of restructuring in improving resource allocation and productivity. We find, at most, restructuring may have spurred the substitution of capital for labor in some industries, helping to set the stage for increased labor productivity. However, there is little evidence that restructurings, themselves, aided in the improvement of true technological progress.
Is the political business cycle for real?
This paper's macroeconomic model combines features from both real and political business cycle models. It augments a standard real business cycle tax model by allowing for varying levels of government partisanship and competence in order to replicate two important empirical regularities: First, that on average the economy expands early under Democratic presidents and contracts early under Republican presidents. Second, that presidents whose parties successfully retain the presidency have stronger-than-average growth in the second half of their terms. The model generates both of these features ...