Policy Volatility, Institutions and Economic Growth

44 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2006

See all articles by Antonio Fatás

Antonio Fatás

INSEAD; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); ABFER

Ilian Mihov

INSEAD; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2005

Abstract

There is a significant controversy among academics and policy-makers about whether policies matter for economic growth. Recently, Acemoglu et al. (2003) and Easterly (2004) have presented empirical evidence against the commonly held view that policies play an important role in the process of economic development. Their key conclusion is that macroeconomic policies (monetary, fiscal and trade) have an explanatory power for the cross-country variation in growth rates and income per capita only because they serve as proxies for institutions. While we confirm their results using levels of policy variables (inflation and government spending), we present evidence that policy volatility exerts a strong and direct negative impact on growth. In a cross-section of 91 countries, policy volatility emerges as a key determinant of macroeconomic performance. An increase in the volatility of fiscal policy corresponding to one standard deviation in the sample reduces long-term economic growth by about 0.75 percentage points. Political institutions have a role to play to the extent that they shape policy outcomes.

Keywords: Growth, institutions, fiscal policy, macroeconomic volatility

JEL Classification: E60, H11, O11, O57

Suggested Citation

Fatas, Antonio and Mihov, Ilian, Policy Volatility, Institutions and Economic Growth (November 2005). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5388. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=887544

Antonio Fatas (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, 138676
Singapore
+6567995384 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.insead.edu/fatas

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

ABFER ( email )

BIZ 2 Storey 4, 04-05
1 Business Link
Singapore, 117592
Singapore

Ilian Mihov

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, Singapore 138680
Singapore
+65 6799 5434 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/faculty/personal/imihov/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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