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Government Spending Cyclicality: Evidence from Rainfall Shocks as an Instrument for Cyclical Income

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  • Brückner, Markus
  • Gradstein, Mark

Abstract

This research revisits the cyclicality of fiscal policies. To identify and estimate more precisely the magnitude of a causal effect of cyclical income on government spending, we employ annual rainfall data as an instrument for national income in the context of sub-Saharan countries. Our results confirm procyclical behavior of government spending and of tax revenues; debt and deficit are found to be countercyclical. Specifically, government spending is procyclical during upturns and acyclical during downturns. We also find that its procyclicality is correlated with corruption, especially among democracies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8622.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8622

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Keywords: cyclicality; Fiscal policy;

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  1. Ugo Panizza & Dany Jaimovich, 2007. "Procyclicality or Reverse Causality?," IDB Publications 6843, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is Fiscal Policy often Procyclical?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1556, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Zvi Hercowitz & Michel Strawczynski, 2004. "Cyclical Ratcheting in Government Spending: Evidence from the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 353-361, February.
  4. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
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  9. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Brückner, Markus, 2012. "An instrumental variables approach to estimating tax revenue elasticities: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 220-227.
  11. Aizenman, Joshua & Hausmann, Ricardo, 2000. "The impact of inflation on budgetary discipline," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 425-449, December.
  12. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  13. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carlos A. Vegh, 2008. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: Truth or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 14191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  16. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2011. "Rent-seeking distortions and fiscal procyclicality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 30-46, September.
  17. Talvi, Ernesto & Vegh, Carlos A., 2005. "Tax base variability and procyclical fiscal policy in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 156-190, October.
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