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Government spending volatility and the size of nations

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  • Furceri, Davide
  • Poplawski Ribeiro, Marcos

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence showing that smaller countries tend to have more volatile government spending for a sample of 160 countries from 1960 to 2000. We argue that the larger size of a country decreases the volatility of government spending because it acts as an insurance against idiosyncratic shocks, and it leads to increasing returns to scale due to the higher ability of the government to spread its cost of financing over a larger pool of taxpayers. The results are robust to different time and country samples, different econometric techniques and to several sets of control variables. The analysis also evinces that country size is negatively related to the discretionary part of government spending and to the volatilities of most of the government spending items. JEL Classification: E62, H10

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0924.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20080924

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Related research

Keywords: Country Size; Fiscal Policy; fiscal volatility; government size; H10; JEL: E62;

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References

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  1. Roel Beetsma & Xavier Debrun & Franc Klaassen, 2001. "Is Fiscal Policy Coordination in EMU Desirable?," IHEID Working Papers 04-2001, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  2. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-90, November.
  3. Furceri, Davide & Karras, Georgios, 2007. "Country size and business cycle volatility: Scale really matters," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 424-434, December.
  4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:5:y:2008:i:3:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Rand, John & Tarp, Finn, 2002. "Business Cycles in Developing Countries: Are They Different?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2071-2088, December.
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  7. Davide Furceri & Georgios Karras, 2008. "Business cycle volatility and country zize :evidence for a sample of OECD countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(3), pages 1-7.
  8. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  9. Poplawski Ribeiro, Marcos & Beetsma, Roel, 2008. "The political economy of structural reforms under a deficit restriction," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 179-198, March.
  10. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2005. "Policy Volatility, Institutions and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Rose, Andrew K., 2006. "Size really doesn't matter: In search of a national scale effect," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 482-507, December.
  14. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
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  17. António Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2006. "Public Sector Efficiency: Evidence for New EU Member States and Emerging Markets," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/01, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
  18. Beetsma, R.M.W.J. & Bovenberg, A.L., 1995. "Monetary union without fiscal coordination may discipline policymakers," Discussion Paper 1995-59, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  19. Davide Furceri, 2007. "Is Government Expenditure Volatility Harmful for Growth? A Cross-Country Analysis," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 103-120, 03.
  20. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case For Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447, November.
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  22. Jean Imbs, 2006. "Growth and Volatility," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 06-09, Swiss Finance Institute.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bruno Albuquerque, 2012. "Fiscal institutions and public spending volatility in Europe," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  2. Riscado, Sara Maria & Stančík, Juraj & Välilä, Timo, 2010. "Macro-fiscal volatility and the composition of public spending," Economic and Financial Reports 2010/3, European Investment Bank, Economics Department.
  3. Vratislav Izák, 2011. "The Welfare State and Economic Growth," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(4), pages 291-308.

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