Education, political instability, and growth
Empirical evidence suggests a positive association between income levels and growth rates on the one hand, and political stability and educational attainment on the other. This paper develops a simple finite--horizon overlapping growth model that in the absence of institutions for precommitment has a political equilibrium with inefficiently low growth, low educational attainment, and high returns to schooling. In the model, the laissez-faire growth rate is inefficient due to an intergenerational externality in the decision to accumulate knowledge. We then contrast the efficient growth rate ...
Finite horizons, political economy, and growth
This paper analyzes the political economy of growth when agents and the government have finite horizons and equilibrium growth is inefficient. A "representative" government (that is, one whose preferences reflect those of its constituents) endowed merely with the ability to tax and transfer can improve somewhat on the market allocation but cannot achieve first-best growth. Efficiency requires in addition the ability to bind future governments. We argue that this ability is related to political stability, and provide empirical evidence that stability and growth-related policies (namely ...
Effect of redrawing of political boundaries on voting patterns: evidence from state reorganization in India
This paper analyzes the effect of a redrawing of political boundaries on voting patterns and investigates whether it leads to closer conformity of an electorate's voting patterns with its political preferences. We study these issues in the context of a reorganization of states in India. In 2000, Madhya Pradesh, the biggest state in India before the reorganization, was subdivided into Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the latter accounting for less than one-fourth of the electorate of undivided Madhya Pradesh. Using socioeconomic composition and traditional voting patterns, we argue that there ...
The politics of central bank independence: a theory of pandering and learning in government
We propose a theory to explain why, and under what circumstances, a politician endogenously gives up rent and delegates policy tasks to an independent agency. Applied to monetary policy, this theory (i) formalizes the rationale for delegation highlighted by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and by Alan S. Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and (ii) does not rely on the inflation bias that underlies most existing theories of central bank independence. Delegation trades off the cost of having a ...
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.
Partisan impacts on the economy: evidence from prediction markets and close elections
Political economists interested in discerning the effects of election outcomes on the economy have been hampered by the problem that economic outcomes also influence elections. We sidestep these problems by analyzing movements in economic indicators caused by clearly exogenous changes in expectations about the likely winner during election day. Analyzing high frequency financial fluctuations on November 2 and 3 in 2004, we find that markets anticipated higher equity prices, interest rates, and oil prices and a stronger dollar under a Bush presidency than under Kerry. A similar ...