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Cyclical fiscal policy in developing countries: the case of Africa

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The paper documents three pieces of empirical evidence on fiscal policy in Africa. First, a bigger government increases the volatility of output growth. Second, fiscal policy has substantially Keynesian effects. Third, fiscal policy instruments in Africa behave either pro-cyclically or a-cyclically, but practically never counter-cyclically. Taken together, these three findings imply that fiscal policy does not contribute to output stabilization. Quite the contrary, in several African countries fiscal policy is a source of volatility. Given the large development costs of volatility, ways to encourage the adoption of a counter-cyclical fiscal policy stance are then discussed.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series MRG Discussion Paper Series with number 2408.

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Handle: RePEc:qld:uqmrg6:24

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  1. Paolo Manasse, 2007. "Deficit Limits and Fiscal Rules for Dummies," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 455-473, July.
  2. Jordi Galí & J. David López-Salido & Javier Vallés, 2002. "Understanding the effects of government spending on consumption," Economics Working Papers 911, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2005.
  3. Andres, Javier & Domenech, Rafael & Fatas, Antonio, 2008. "The stabilizing role of government size," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 571-593, February.
  4. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Francesco Giavazzi & Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 2000. "Searching for Non-Linear Effects of Fiscal Policy: Evidence from Industrial and Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 7460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why Is Fiscal Policy Often Procyclical?," Working Papers 297, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "Hypothesis Testing with Efficient Method of Moments Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 777-87, October.
  9. M. Ayhan Kose & Eswar S. Prasad & Marco E. Terrones, 2005. "Growth and Volatility in an Era of Globalization," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(si), pages 31-63.
  10. Chris Otrok, 1999. "On Measuring the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles," Virginia Economics Online Papers 318, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  11. Hnatkovska, Viktoria & Loayza, Norman, 2004. "Volatility and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3184, The World Bank.
  12. Schclarek, Alfredo, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Private Consumption in Industrial and Developing Countries," Working Papers 2003:20, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 30 Sep 2005.
  13. Alan Sutherland, . "Fiscal Crises and Aggregate Demand: Can High Public Debt Reverse the Effects of Fiscal Policy?," Discussion Papers 95/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
  14. Bas van Aarle & Harry (ed.) Garretsen, 2001. "Keynesian, Non-Keynesian or No Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes? The EMU Case," CESifo Working Paper Series 570, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. 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.
  16. Carmignani, Fabrizio, 2008. "The impact of fiscal policy on private consumption and social outcomes in Europe and the CIS," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 575-598, March.
  17. Martin, Philippe & Ann Rogers, Carol, 2000. "Long-term growth and short-term economic instability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 359-381, February.
  18. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Stephane Pallage & Michel A. Robe, 2003. "On the Welfare Cost of Economic Fluctuations in Developing Countries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 677-698, 05.
  20. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
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