NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Rishabh Kirpalani

Department of Economics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Wisconsin

NBER Working Papers and Publications

November 2019Rules without Commitment: Reputation and Incentives
with Alessandro Dovis: w26451
This paper studies the optimal design of rules in a dynamic model when there is a time inconsistency problem and uncertainty about whether the policy maker can commit to follow the rule ex post. The policy maker can either be a commitment type, which can always commit to follow rules, or an optimizing type, which sequentially decides whether to follow rules or not. This type is unobservable to private agents, who learn about it through the actions of the policy maker. Higher beliefs that the policy maker is the commitment type (the policy maker's reputation) help promote good behavior by private agents. We show that in a large class of economies, preserving uncertainty about the policy maker's type is preferable from an ex-ante perspective. If the initial reputation is not too high, the op...
October 2017Fiscal Rules, Bailouts, and Reputation in Federal Governments
with Alessandro Dovis: w23942
Expectations of transfers by central governments incentivize overborrowing by local governments. In this paper, we ask if fiscal rules can reduce overborrowing if central governments cannot commit. We study a model in which the central government’s type is unknown and show that fiscal rules increase overborrowing if the central government’s reputation is low. In contrast, fiscal rules are effective in lowering debt if the central government’s reputation is high. Even when the central government’s reputation is low, binding fiscal rules will arise in the equilibrium of a signaling game.
 
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