Exchange-Rate Regimes, Political Parties and the Inflation-Unemployment Tradeoff: Evidence from Greece

We use Greek data during 1960–1994 to test and estimate a model in which wage inflation, price inflation and unemployment depend on the exchange rate regime, the identity of the political party in power and whether an election is expected to take place. We respect the Lucas critique and take into account the statistical properties of the data. The main results are: (i) The exchange rate regime matters for inflation. After the fall of the Bretton Woods regime in 1972, there is a Barro-Gordon type inflation bias due to the inability of all policymakers to precommit to low inflation. (ii) There are no Barro-Gordon type partisan differences in inflation or unemployment.

Open Economies Review (with Dong-Ho Lee and Apostolis Philippopoulos)

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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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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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