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Are Windfalls a Curse? A Non-Representative Agent Model of the Current Account and Fiscal Policy

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  • Aaron Tornell
  • Philip Lane

Abstract

In several countries temporary terms of trade improvements have led to a deterioration of the current account. Furthermore, many of these countries failed to attain greater post-boom growth rates. The point we make is that the structure of the fiscal process is critical in determining outcomes. If fiscal control is unitary, then the consumption-smoothing effect is operative, and representative-agent models of the current account have predictive power. However, if control is divided among several fiscal claimants, a voracity effect appears which counteracts the consumption-smoothing effect, leading to a deterioration of the current account in response to a positive shock. We model the interaction among fiscal claimants as a dynamic game, and show that in equilibrium aggregate appropriation increases more than the windfall itself. This results in a deterioration of the current account. We also show that all the windfall is dissipated, with the country experiencing no increase in its growth rate. Lastly, we analyze the experiences of seven countries which have enjoyed large windfalls.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4839.

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Date of creation: Aug 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of International Economics, vol. 44, pp. 83-112, 1998,
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4839

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  1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 1994. "What do firms do with cash windfalls?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 337-360, December.
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  4. Cohen, Daniel & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1986. "Growth and external debt under risk of debt repudiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 529-560, June.
  5. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1982. "Aggregate Spending and the Terms of Trade: Is There a Laursen-Metzler Effect?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 251-70, May.
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  7. Svensson, Lars E O & Razin, Assaf, 1983. "The Terms of Trade and the Current Account: The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 97-125, February.
  8. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1987. "Current account dynamics in a finite horizon model," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 299-313, November.
  9. Maurice Obstfeld and Kenneth Rogoff., 1994. "The Intertemporal Approach to the Current Account," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C94-044, University of California at Berkeley.
  10. Eaton, Jonathan, 1993. "Sovereign Debt: A Primer," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 7(2), pages 137-72, May.
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  13. Devarajan, Shantayanan & de Melo, Jaime, 1987. "Adjustment with a Fixed Exchange Rate: Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, and Senegal," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(3), pages 447-87, May.
  14. Pinto, Brian, 1987. "Nigeria during and after the Oil Boom: A Policy Comparison with Indonesia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 1(3), pages 419-45, May.
  15. Sachs, Jeffrey, 1982. " The Current Account in the Macroeconomic Adjustment Process," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(2), pages 147-59.
  16. M.A. Adelman, 1980. "The Clumsy Cartel," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
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Cited by:
  1. L. Zanforlin & César Calderón & Alberto Chong, 2001. "Are African Current Account Deficits Different? Stylized Facts, Transitory Shocks, and Decomposition Analysis," IMF Working Papers 01/4, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Carlos Morales, 2011. "Variedades de recursos naturales y crecimiento económico," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  3. International Monetary Fund, 2011. "Oil-Price Boom and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation," IMF Working Papers 11/268, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2007. "Short- And Medium-Term Determinants Of Current Account Balances In Middle East And North Africa Countries," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp862, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  5. World Bank, 2011. "Fiscal Responsibility Framework in Croatia : Lessons from the Past, Rules for the Future," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12895, The World Bank.
  6. Marcela Eslava, 2006. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey," Research Department Publications 4487, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2006. "How Excessive are External Imbalances in Selected Transition Countries?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2006(3), pages 243-267.
  8. Roberto Duncan, 2003. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect Revisited: An Indirect-Utility-Function Approach," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 250, Central Bank of Chile.
  9. Everhart, Stephen & Duval-Hernandez, Robert, 2001. "Management of oil windfalls in Mexico : historical experience and policy options for the future," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2592, The World Bank.
  10. Piotr Misztal, 2010. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect. Theory and Practice in Poland," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 13(38), pages 129-146, December.
  11. Guillermo Vuletin, 2013. "Exchange Rate Regimes And Fiscal Discipline: The Role Of Capital Controls," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2096-2109, October.
  12. Aristovnik, Aleksander, 2006. "The Determinants & Excessiveness of Current Account Deficits in Eastern Europe & the Former Soviet Union," MPRA Paper 483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Gregory Thwaites, 2006. "Optimal emerging market fiscal policy when trend output growth is unobserved," Bank of England working papers 308, Bank of England.
  14. Angelo Antoci, 2005. "Environmental Resources Depletion and Interplay Between Negative and Positive Externalities in a Growth Model," Working Papers 2005.9, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  15. Guillermo J. Vuletin, 2004. "Exchange Rate Regimes And Fiscal Performance. Do Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes Generate More Discipline Than Flexible Ones?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 474, Econometric Society.

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