Government Partisanship, Labor Organization, and Macroeconomic Performance
Governments of the Left and Right have distinct partisan economic policies and objectives that they would prefer to pursue. Their propensity to do so, however, is constrained by their desire for reelection. We argue that the ability of governments to further their partisan interests and preside over reelectable macroeconomic outcomes simultaneously is dependent on the organization of the domestic economy, particularly the labor movement. We hypothesize that there are two different paths to desirable macroeconomic performance. In countries with densely and centrally organized labor movements, leftist governments can promote economic growth and reduce inflation and unemployment. Conversely, in countries with weak labor movements, rightist governments can pursue their partisan-preferred macroeconomic strategies and achieve similarly beneficial macroeconomic outcomes. Performance will be poorer in other cases. These hypotheses are supported by analysis of pooled annual time series data for 16 advanced industrial democracies between 1967 and 1984.
Alvarez, RM; Garrett, G; Lange, P
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