The Two Faces of Janus: Institutions, Policy Regimes and Macroeconomic Performance in Greece

The clear change in policy regime in Greece around 1974 offers an opportunity to assess the extent to which economic performance depends on institutional underpinnings. For twenty years up to 1974, Greece enjoyed rapid growth, high investment and low inflation; during the next twenty years, growth and investment collapsed and inflation became high and persistent.

I describe the political background to such clear institutional change, and the nature of the two economic regimes: the first providing coordination and commitment mechanisms to sustain adequate returns for high investment, the second failing to do so. The same change in political climate after 1974 raised public sector deficits and debt, fuelling a trade deficit and monetary expansion. Entry to the EC did not cause the economic slowdown in Greece, but transfers from the EC did mask the underlying problem, delaying necessary adjustment. Recent attempts to reverse Greece’s fortunes are in the right direction but as yet inadequate.

Economic Policy

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Money and Endogenous Growth

This paper provides a coherent framework of endogenous growth and overlapping generations with money in the utility function and inelastic labor supply. Monetary growth permanently affects real growth. An increase in monetary growth then no longer leads to an identical increase in inflation,and also money is no longer the sole determinant of inflation in the long run. We also show that increases in public debt and public consumption damage growth prospects and thus increase inflation even when accompanied by increases in lump-sum taxes and a constant rate of growth of the nominal money supply.

Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (with Rick van der Ploeg)

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On Public Debt Stabilizations in an Interdependent World

This paper considers alternative modes of stabilization of world-wide and relative levels of public debt. The analysis is in terms of a model of overlapping, infinitely lived households. Three methods are compared: tax finance, public- consumption finance and monetary finance. We show that a tax-financed world-wide public-debt stabilization results in the highest reduction in consumption and the capital stock; monetary finance has no real effects in the model examined, other than on the composition of public-sector liabilities between money and bonds. A tax-financed relative public-debt stabilization by one country is shown to be associated with a greater rise in external debt and fall in relative consumption than either of the other methods. Monetary finance is again shown to have no real effects.

in George Alogoskoufis, Tryphon Kollintzas and George Provopoulos (eds), Essays in Honor of Constantine Drakatos, Athens, Papazissis. 

Debts, Deficits and Growth in Interdependent Economies

We investigate the effects of budgetary policies on growth rates, external debt, real interest rates and the stock market valuation of capital in a two-country, overlapping-generations model of endogenous growth. A worldwide rise in the public debt/GDP ratio, or the share of government consumption, reduces savings and growth. They also increase real interest rates and depress the stock market because of the adjustment costs of investment. A relative rise in one country’s debt/GDP ratio or its GDP share of government consumption results in a reduction in its ratio of external assets to GDP. Growth rates are equalized unless there are differences in investment adjustment costs or depreciation rates. Per capita output levels do not necessarily converge.
(with Rick van der Ploeg), in Baldassarri Mario, Massimo Di Matteo and Robert Mundell (eds), International Problems of Economic Interdependence, London, Macmillan (1994).

The ECU, the International Monetary System and the Management of Exchange Rates

This paper examines the prospective implications of full Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in Europe for the international monetary system. It makes a giant leap forward in trying to compare the status quo, in which nine of the twelve EC currencies participate in the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) of the European Monetary System (EMS) with full monetary union in which all currencies will have been replaced by a single currency. It concentrates of two main issues: The prospective role of the ECU as an international vehicle and reserve currency, and the implications for the dollar. Second, it examines the prospective changes that EMU will imply for the international coordination of monetary and fiscal policies between the USA, the EC and Japan and the exchange rate regime between the dollar, the ECU and the yen.

in Bekemans Leonce and Tsoukalis Loukas (eds), Europe and Global Economic Interdependence, Bruges, European Interuniversity Press.

Inflationary expectations, political parties and the exchange rate regime: Greece 1958-1989

We investigate the applicability of the ‘rational partisan’ and ‘exchange rate regime’ models of inflation to the case of Greece. Greece has fully participated in the Bretton Woods system of gxed exchange rates until 1972, but has since followed an independent ‘crawling peg’ policy. It has had a polarized political system and a problem of persistently high inflation in the last two decades. Outside fixed exchange rate regimes, persistently high inflation can be attributed to the failure of political parties to pre-commit to price stability. The higher aversion of ‘socialists’ to unemployment results in an inflation rate which is higher by 8 percentage points than under the more anti-inflationary ‘conservatives’. Unemployment is independent of the identity of the party in power and elections.

European Journal of Political Economy (with Apostolis Philippopoulos)

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Monetary Accommodation, Exchange Rate Regimes and Inflation Persistence

Section I presents a model of the inflationary process based on staggered contracts. This suggests that if monetary and exchange rate policy accommodates price shocks to maintain the level of real aggregate demand and the level of international competitiveness, then it will affect the expectations of wage and price setters, and will result in a higher persistence of inflation. Section I1 presents evidence that in periods of fiduciary standards and managed exchange rates there has indeed much higher persistence of global inflation and inflation differentials than in the period of the classical gold-standard and Bretton Woods. Monetary accommodation of average price shocks at the global level has also been much higher outside the latter two regimes, and exchange rate accommodation of relative price shocks has been very high in regimes of managed exchange rates. The final section summarises the conclusions and briefly discusses the implications of the findings for international monetary and exchange rate regimes.

The Economic Journal

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