American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power by J K Galbraith

By J K Galbraith

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In the political economy literature it is very common to argue that frequent changes in government increase the short-sightedness of politicians (Edwards 1996: 6). I therefore prefer to use a measurement that does not differentiate between different types of government changes and construct a variable termed govinst, which measures a country's five-year moving average government turnover. To further increase the robustness of the results, I form a second variable, partyinst, which includes only those instances where a transfer of power from the largest government party to another party formerly in the opposition took place.

1992: 547) show that a higher degree of political instability leads to higher inflation rates. e. ^^ Many other models emphasize the notion that political instability (and frequent government changes in particular) shortens the time horizon of political decisionmakers. The shorter the expected time in office, the greater the incentive to time inconsistent behavior. Another important contribution to the literature is the work by Persson and Tabellini (1990) who argue that in a politically unstable system the incentive to build up reputation by delivering price stability is low because governments are not certain that they will keep their posts during the next period.

Will similar results be found in terms of political instability? To begin with, do politically instable governments display less fear of floating? As described previously, significant economic reasons make developing countries avoid large exchange rate fluctuations even when the official exchange rate regime is a float. The excessive exchange rate volatility observed under freely floating exchange rate regimes is a major concern for countries whose debts are denominated in foreign currency and where there are substantial pass-through effects from exchange rate swings to the inflation rate.

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American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power by J K Galbraith
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