The Political Economy of Financial Systems: Evidence from Suffrage Reforms in the Last Two Centuries
Voting rights were initially limited to wealthy elites providing political support for stock markets. The franchise expansion induces the median voter to provide political support for banking development, as this new electorate has lower financial holdings and benefits less from the riskiness and financial returns from stock markets. Our panel data evidence covering the years 1830–1999 shows that tighter restrictions on the voting franchise induce greater stock market development, whereas a broader voting franchise is more conducive to the banking sector, consistent with Perotti and von Thadden (2006). The results are robust to controlling for other institutional arrangements and endogeneity.
Politically Connected Firms in Poland and Their Access to Bank Financing
Communist and Post-Communist Studies,
This paper characterizes politically connected firms and their access to bank financing. We determine that the relationship between political connections and access to long-term bank loans is weaker in Poland than in other emerging economies. The most probable explanation for this result is related to the instability of the political climate in Poland. We find that only certain kinds of political connections, such as recent connections, positively influenced access to bank financing during the sample period from 2001 to 2011. Moreover, we obtain also some evidence that the value of political connections increased during the 2007 crisis period and onward.
Economic Growth: The Past, the Present, and the Future
Journal of Political Economy,
“Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead the Indian economy to grow like Indonesia’s or Egypt’s? If so, what, exactly? If not, what is it about the ‘nature of India’ that makes it so? The consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else. (Lucas 1988, 5)”
These words by the Nobel laureate Chicago economist Robert Lucas Jr. summarize why so many great scholars found it hard to “think about anything else” and spent their careers trying to understand the process of economic growth. Economies are complex systems resulting from the actions of many actors. This complexity makes it challenging, but also infinitely interesting, to understand the determinants of economic growth. What are the roles of human capital, fertility, ideas, basic science, and public policy for growth? These are just some of the important questions that were posed by many highly influential studies featured in the issues of the Journal of Political Economy over the years. Indeed, this journal has been the platform to diffuse many of the brilliant ideas and start important debates in the field of economic growth. In this short paper, my goal is to revisit some of those seminal papers, briefly describe some of the more recent contributions, and end with some thoughts about the future direction of the field. The reader should note in advance that the list of work covered here is by no means exhaustive and mostly targets work that has been featured in issues of the JPE.
How Do Political Factors Shape the Bank Risk-Sovereign Risk Nexus in Emerging Markets?
Review of Development Economics,
This paper studies the role of political factors for determining the impact of banking sector distress on sovereign bond yield spreads for a sample of 19 emerging market economies in the period 1994–2013. Using interaction models, I find that the adverse impact of banking sector distress on sovereign solvency is less pronounced for countries with a high degree of political stability, a high level of power sharing within the government coalition, a low level of political constraint within the political system, and for countries run by powerful and effective governments. The electoral cycle pronounces the bank risk–sovereign risk transfer.
Global Food Prices and Monetary Policy in an Emerging Market Economy: The Case of India
Journal of Asian Economics,
This paper investigates a perception in the political debates as to what extent poor countries are affected by price movements in the global commodity markets. To test this perception, we use the case of India to establish in a standard SVAR model that global food prices influence aggregate prices and food prices in India. To further analyze these empirical results, we specify a small open economy New-Keynesian model including oil and food prices and estimate it using observed data over the period 1996Q2 to 2013Q2 by applying Bayesian estimation techniques. The results suggest that a big part of the variation in inflation in India is due to cost-push shocks and, mainly during the years 2008 and 2010, also to global food price shocks, after having controlled for exogenous rainfall shocks. We conclude that the inflationary supply shocks (cost-push, oil price, domestic food price and global food price shocks) are important contributors to inflation in India. Since the monetary authority responds to these supply shocks with a higher interest rate which tends to slow growth, this raises concerns about how such output losses can be prevented by reducing exposure to commodity price shocks.