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Chile’s Structural Fiscal Surplus Rule: a Model-Based Evaluation


  • Michael Kumhof
  • Douglas Laxton


The paper analyzes Chile’s structural surplus fiscal rule in the face of shocks to the world copper price. Two results are obtained. First, Chile’s current fiscal rule performs well if the policymaker (i) puts a premium on avoiding excessive volatility in fiscal instruments, and (ii) puts a relatively small weight on output volatility relative to inflation volatility in the objective function. A more aggressive countercyclical fiscal rule can attain lower output volatility, but there is a trade-off with somewhat higher inflation volatility and much higher instrument volatility. The ranking of instruments between government spending and labor income taxes depends mainly on the instrument volatility the policymaker will tolerate. Second, given its then current stock of government assets, Chile’s adoption of a 0.5% surplus target starting in 2008 was desirable because the earlier 1% target would have required significant further asset accumulation that could only have been accomplished at the expense of greater volatility in fiscal instruments and therefore in macroeconomic variables

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kumhof & Douglas Laxton, 2010. "Chile’s Structural Fiscal Surplus Rule: a Model-Based Evaluation," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 13(3), pages 5-32, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchec:v:13:y:2010:i:3:p:5-32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher J. Erceg & Luca Guerrieri & Christopher J. Gust, 2005. "Expansionary fiscal shocks and the trade deficit," International Finance Discussion Papers 825, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Douglas Laxton & Michael Kumhof, 2007. "A Party without a Hangover? On the Effects of U.S. Government Deficits," IMF Working Papers 07/202, International Monetary Fund.
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    4. Juan Pablo Medina & Claudio Soto, 2007. "Copper Price, Fiscal Policu and Business Cycle in Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 458, Central Bank of Chile.
    5. Juan de Dios Tena & César Salazar, 2008. "Explaining inflation and output volatility in Chile: an empirical analysis of forty years," REVISTA CUADERNOS DE ECONOMÍA, UN - RCE - CID, December.
    6. Thomas Laubach, 2009. "New Evidence on the Interest Rate Effects of Budget Deficits and Debt," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 858-885, June.
    7. Enrique G. Mendoza, 2005. "Real Exchange Rate Volatility and the Price of Nontradables in Sudden-Stop-Prone Economies," NBER Working Papers 11691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ireland, Peter N., 2001. "Sticky-price models of the business cycle: Specification and stability," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 3-18, February.
    9. Michael Kumhof & Douglas Laxton, 2010. "Chile’s Structural Fiscal Surplus Rule: a Model-Based Evaluation," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 13(3), pages 5-32, December.
    10. Laxton, Douglas & Pesenti, Paolo, 2003. "Monetary rules for small, open, emerging economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1109-1146, July.
    11. Michael Kumhof & Douglas Laxton, 2009. "Simple, Implementable Fiscal Policy Rules," IMF Working Papers 09/76, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Günter Coenen & Christopher J. Erceg & Charles Freedman & Davide Furceri & Michael Kumhof & René Lalonde & Douglas Laxton & Jesper Lindé & Annabelle Mourougane & Dirk Muir & Susanna Mursula & Carlos d, 2012. "Effects of Fiscal Stimulus in Structural Models," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 22-68, January.
    13. Eric M. Engen & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2005. "Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 83-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Carlos Garcia & Jorge Restrepo & Evan Tanner, 2007. "Designing fiscal rules for commodity exporters," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv199, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    15. R. Glenn Hubbard & Eric M. Engen, 2004. "Federal Government Debt and Interest Rates," AEI Economics Working Papers 50018, American Enterprise Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jorge Fornero & Markus Kirchner & Andrés Yany, 2015. "Terms of Trade Shocks and Investment in Commodity-Exporting Economies," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Rodrigo Caputo & Roberto Chang (ed.), Commodity Prices and Macroeconomic Policy, edition 1, volume 22, chapter 5, pages 135-193 Central Bank of Chile.
    2. Ojeda-Joya, Jair N. & Parra-Polanía, Julián A. & Vargas, Carmiña O., 2016. "Fiscal rules as a response to commodity shocks: A welfare analysis of the Colombian scenario," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 859-866.
    3. García-Cicco, Javier & Kawamura, Enrique, 2015. "Dealing with the Dutch disease: Fiscal rules and macro-prudential policies," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 205-239.
    4. Jair N. OJeda & Julián A. Parra Polanía & Carmiña O. Vargas, 2014. "Natural-Resource Booms, Fiscal Rules and Welfare in a Small Open Economy," Borradores de Economia 807, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    5. Medina, Juan Pablo & Soto, Claudio, 2016. "Commodity prices and fiscal policy in a commodity exporting economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 335-351.

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