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Fiscal policy in developing countries : a framework and some questions

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  • Perotti, Roberto
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    Abstract

    This paper surveys fiscal policy in developing countries from the point of view of long-run growth. The first section reviews existing methodologies to estimate the effects of fiscal policy shocks and of systematic fiscal policy, with time series or with cross-sectional methods, and their applicability to developing countries. The second section surveys optimal fiscal policy in developing countries, by considering the role of the intertemporal government budget, and sustainability and solvency. It also reviews the fuzzy debate on"fiscal space"and"macroeconomic space"- and the usefulness (or lack thereof) of these terms for policy analysis. The third section asks what theory tells us about the optimal cyclical behavior of fiscal policy in developing countries. It shows that it very much depends on the assumptions about the interactions between credit market imperfections at the individual, firms, or government level, and on the supply of external funds to the country. Different sets of assumptions lead to different implications about optimal cyclical behavior. The available evidence on the cyclical behavior of fiscal policy, and possible reasons for the observed prevalence of a procyclical behavior in developing countries, is also reviewed. If one agrees that fiscal policy is indeed less countercyclical than we think is optimal, the issue is how to correct the problem. One obvious question is why government do not self-insure, i.e. why they do not accumulate assets in upturns and decumulate them in downturns. This leads to the analysis of fiscal rules and stabilization funds, in the fourth section. The last section concludes with what the author considers important research and policy questions in each part.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4365.

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    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4365

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    Related research

    Keywords: Economic Stabilization; Debt Markets; Public Sector Expenditure Analysis&Management; Economic Theory&Research;

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    References

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    1. Finn, Mary G, 1998. "Cyclical Effects of Government's Employment and Goods Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 635-57, August.
    2. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti Gomes & Araújo, Carlos Hamilton Vasconcelos, 2006. "On the Economic and Fiscal Effects of Infrastructure Investment in Brazil," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 613, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    3. Fay, Marianne & Yepes, Tito, 2003. "Investing in infrastructure : what is needed from 2000 to 2010?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3102, The World Bank.
    4. Voss, Graham M., 2002. "Public and private investment in the United States and Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 641-664, August.
    5. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
    6. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2004. "Fiscal Policy and Financial Depth," NBER Working Papers 10532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nigel Andrew Chalk & Richard Hemming, 2000. "Assessing Fiscal Sustainability in Theory and Practice," IMF Working Papers 00/81, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Peter Perkins & Johann Fedderke & John Luiz, 2005. "An Analysis Of Economic Infrastructure Investment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(2), pages 211-228, 06.
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    Cited by:
    1. Cerón, Juan A., 2012. "La respuesta de la política fiscal a la actividad económica en los países desarrollados/Fiscal policy reaction to economic activity in developed countries," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 369 (32 pag, Abril.
    2. Céline CARRERE & Jaime de MELO, 2012. "Fiscal Spending and Economic Growth: Some Stylized Facts," Working Papers P35, FERDI.

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