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Working Paper

Is the Political Business Cycle for Real?

This paper's macroeconomic model combines features from both real and political business cycle models. It augments a standard real business cycle tax model by allowing for varying levels of government partisanship and competence in order to replicate two important empirical regularities: First, that on average the economy expands early under Democratic presidents and contracts early under Republican presidents. Second, that presidents whose parties successfully retain the presidency have stronger-than-average growth in the second half of their terms. The model generates both of these features in conformity with U.S. post-World War II data.

Working Papers of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland are preliminary materials circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment on research in progress. They may not have been subject to the formal editorial review accorded official Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland publications. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Federal Reserve System.

Suggested Citation

Blomberg, Brock, and Gregory Hess. 2000. “Is the Political Business Cycle for Real?” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 00-16.