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Why Is Fiscal Policy Procyclical in MENA Countries?

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  • Sarra Ben Slimane

    ()
    (University of Sousse)

  • Moez Ben Tahar
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    Abstract

    TThe optimal fiscal policy is countercyclical, aiming to keep the output close to its potential. Nevertheless, it has been pointed out that developing countries are unable to run countercyclical fiscal policies. Several researchers have attributed these sub optimal fiscal policies to two groups of arguments. (i) The limited access to domestic or external funds may hinder the ability of government to pursue expansionary fiscal policy in bad time. (ii) The second group of factors explains that sub-optimal fiscal policies are associated with institutional theories. The standard argument suggests that countries pursuing poor fiscal policies also have weak institutions, widespread corruption, a lack of property rights and repudiation of contract. The main goal of this paper is to analyze empirically if the ability of MENA countries to conduct countercyclical fiscal policy is affected by the quality of their institutions, the nature of political regime and/or by the availability of financial resources either on the local or international capital markets. From our fiscal policy regression, we find that budget balance in MENA region is countercyclical. At the same time, total expenditure and total revenue are procyclical. We conclude that MENA countries are unable to run countercyclical fiscal policies if they have weak institutions, limited international access, a domestic credit market and democratic political regimes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Research Forum in its series Working Papers with number 566.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2010
    Date of revision: Nov 2010
    Publication status: Published by The Economic Research Forum (ERF)
    Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:566

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