nep-pol New Economics Papers
on Positive Political Economics
Issue of 2005‒07‒18
three papers chosen by
Eugene Beaulieu
University of Calgary

  1. Endogenous Central Bank Credibility in a Small Forward-Looking Model of the U.S. Economy By René Lalonde
  2. Price Liberalization and Output Decline in Transition By Saso Polanec
  3. Mackerels in the Moonlight: Corrupt Politicians and Anti- Corruption Reform in Two-Candidate Elections By Haldun Evrenk

  1. By: René Lalonde
    Abstract: The linkages between inflation and the economy's cyclical position are thought to be strongly affected by the credibility of monetary authorities. The author complements existing research by estimating a small forward-looking model of the U.S. economy with endogenous central bank credibility. His work differs from the existing literature in several ways. First, he endogenizes and estimates credibility parameters, allowing inflation expectations to be a mix of backward- and forward-looking agents. Second, his models include both outcome- and action-based credibility. Third, he estimates a non-linear relation between policy credibility and divergences of inflation from target, which is also assumed to change over history. Finally, the author's non-linear time-varying credibility indexes do not rely on a two-regime definition, but on a continuum of credibility regimes. The author finds strong, stable, and statistically significant outcome- and action-credibility effects that generate important inflation inertia. According to his results, the value of the endogenous credibility indexes has risen steadily across the different monetary policy regimes.
    Keywords: Transmission of monetary policy; Econometric and statistical methods; Inflation and prices
    JEL: E52 C32
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Saso Polanec
    Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to fill the gap in theoretical explanations of a large output decline that took place in the early years of transition process. The prevalent explanations, commonly found under the title of disorganisation, are succesful in explaining output decline in countries of former Soviet Union, but less so for Central and Eastern European countries. The model we develop shares the cause of output decline with disorganisation - price liberalisation, however, the decline takes place only under a set of plausible assumptions: adjustment costs to labor mobility across economic sectors and large benefits to inactivity in a form of either government transfers or reservation wage earned in informal economy. Liberalisation of prices in a form of removal of distortionary taxes creates incentives for labor mobility from a declining sector to inactivity. The decline takes place only in a part of the economy, while the rest of the economy stagnates or slowly grows. Since the model does not have a closed-form solution, we analyze the equilibrium allocation using simulation methods. We also discuss the political economy of reforms and identify the conditions under which rational voters under majoritarian voting rule would support the price liberalisation.
    Keywords: liberalization, transition, recession, adjustment cost, government transfers, reservation wage, heterogeneity
    JEL: F11 J21 J60 O11 O17
  3. By: Haldun Evrenk (Suffolk University)
    Abstract: This paper examines causes of the persistence of corruption among elected politicians and the effectiveness of some commonly discussed anti-corruption reforms. We study a theoretical model of competition between two candidates who differ both in ability and popularity in a probabilistic voting setup. Each candidate proposes a tax rate and a public good level. The elected candidate's ability determines the cost of producing the public good. The budget constraint implies that taxes collected must equal the sum of funds used in public good production plus funds stolen by the elected politician. We solve for the tax rate and public good level chosen by each candidate and how much each candidate decides to steal. We then identify conditions under which (i) imposing constitutional constraints such as tax rate (upper) or public good (lower) limits, (ii) increasing compensation of elected politicians, and (iii) small changes in legal penalties, will reduce corruption and increase voters' welfare. We find that the designers of a successful reform need to have information that is privately held by candidates. The redistributive effects of a reform and how that would affect the popularity of the reform is discussed as well. Finally, we argue that a welfare-improving reform that would reduce the corruption may not be supported by both corrupt and honest politicians.
    Keywords: corruption, reform, constitutional limits
    JEL: C7 D8
    Date: 2005–07–12

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