Politics, Information and the Macroeconomy

May 13-14, 2011

This conference was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme ERC grant agreement nº 240989 - GOPG "Globalization, Optimal Policies and Growth".
The workshop was organized, in cooperation with the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), by Alessandra Bonfiglioli, Gino Gancia and Giacomo Ponzetto, and took place at the Ciutadella campus of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. The workshop brought together 22 academic researchers, from Europe and the US, working on various aspects of the interplay between information, politics and macroeconomic policies and reforms.
In the first morning session, Gilles Saint-Paul (Toulouse), Paola Conconi (ECARES) and Alessandra Bonfiglioli (IAE-CSIC) discussed how politicians seeking re-election may be induced to choose policies that hurt their own constituencies, and fail to adopt reforms, such as trade liberalization and fiscal stabilization, even though these are welfare improving.
In the first keynote lecture, Alberto Alesina (Harvard) argued that where family ties are stronger, labor markets are less flexible because agents want to avoid moving even at the cost of facing lower wages and probability of being employed.
In the afternoon sessions, Rod Ludema (Georgetown) and Giacomo Ponzetto (CREI) discussed how firms may exert their pressure on politicians to affect trade policy. Ruben Enikolopov (New Economic School, Moscow) and Anh Tran (Indiana) showed evidence on the effects of media coverage on ethnic animosity in areas of conflict, and on the behaviour of politicians in autocratic regimes.
In the morning session on Saturday, Christian Fons-Rosen (UPF) provided a quantification of the value of political connections for US lobbyists, Vincenzo Galasso (Bocconi) discussed how political incentives affect unemployment protection legislations across different electoral systems, and Ethan Ilzetzki (LSE) argued that pork-barrel spending may be a way to convey useful information in crisis periods. The workshop ended with a keynote lecture in which Torsten Persson (IIES, Stockholm) presented an ongoing project on how political turnover may promote institutional change.   
In addition to authors and discussants, other researchers and professors from the Barcelona area and other European institutions, as well as doctoral students from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona attended the workshop.


List of participants

Policy Panel

Expense claim form


Call for papers

Working papers available

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