Levon Barseghyan

Department of Economics
Cornell University
456 Uris Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2017On the Dynamics of Community Development
with Stephen Coate: w23674
This paper presents a dynamic political economy model of community development. In each period, a community invests in a local public good. The community can grow, with new housing supplied by competitive developers. To finance investment, the community can tax residents and issue debt. In each period, fiscal decisions are made by current residents. The community's initial wealth (the value of its stock of public good less its debt) determines how it develops. High initial wealth leads to rapid development. Low initial wealth leads to gradual development that is fueled by community wealth accumulation. Wealth accumulation arises from the desire to attract more households to share the costs of the public good. The long run size of the community can be too large or too small and development ...
October 2015Political Economy of Debt and Growth
with Marco Battaglini: w21660
We present a theory of endogenous fiscal policy and growth. Fiscal policy — debt, income tax, spending on local public goods and public investment — is determined through legislative bargaining. Economic growth depends directly on public investment, private investment in human capital and, via learning-by-doing, labor supply. The model predicts that the economy converges to a balanced growth path in which consumption, private investment, public investment, public goods provision, public debt and productivity grow at the same constant rate. The transition to the balanced growth path is characterized by what we call the shrinking government effect: public debt grows faster than GDP, provisions of public goods and infrastructure grow slower than GDP and the tax rate declines. We use the model...

Published: Barseghyan, Levon & Battaglini, Marco, 2016. "Political economy of debt and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 36-51. citation courtesy of

November 2014Public School Choice: An Economic Analysis
with Damon Clark, Stephen Coate: w20701
Public school choice programs give households a free choice of public school and provide schools incentives to compete for students. Proponents of these programs argue that by the usual market logic, choice and competition will improve the quality of the education that schools provide. Critics counter that the usual market logic does not translate easily to schools, since households’ perceptions of school quality depend not only on the efforts of school personnel but also on the composition of the student body (i.e., households have peer preferences). This paper advances this debate by developing and analyzing an economic model of public school choice. To capture the pro-choice argument, the model assumes that a neighborhood enrollment policy that provides schools with no incentives to exe...
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