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Debt Sustainability and Procyclical Fiscal Policies in Latin America

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  • Enrique Alberola

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  • Manuel Montero

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Abstract

The computation of structural primary balances for the nine main Latin American countries and the comparison of their changes with their cyclical position during the period 1981-2004 confirm that fiscal policy is procyclical in the region. From this evidence, the paper shows strong evidence that the fiscal behavior is closely linked to the financial vulnerability position of the economies and, in particular, to the perception on the sustainability of public debt. The current threshold balance, defined as the primary balance that would render the debt stable under the existing economic and financial conditions, is used as our gauge for measuring debt sustainability concerns at each point in time. The empirical analysis reveals that fiscal stance tightens when the perceptions of debt sustainability worsen, that the impact is stronger the less sustainable debt is perceived, and that when controlling for these effects fiscal policy loses its procyclical stance. The results are robust to different specifications and estimation methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrique Alberola & Manuel Montero, 2006. "Debt Sustainability and Procyclical Fiscal Policies in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2006), pages 157-193, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000425:008644
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeronimo Zettelmeyer & Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, 2008. "Fiscal Positions in Latin America; Have They Really Improved?," IMF Working Papers 08/137, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Sophia Gollwitzer & Eteri Kvintradze & Tej Prakash & Luis-Felipe Zanna & Era Dabla-Norris & Richard I Allen & Irene Yackovlev & Victor Duarte Lledo, 2010. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Low-Income Countries," IMF Working Papers 10/80, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Serhan Cevik & Katerina Teksoz, 2014. "Deep Roots of Fiscal Behavior," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(2), pages 5-33, November.
    4. Ugo Panizza & Dany Jaimovich, 2007. "Procyclicality or Reverse Causality?," Research Department Publications 4508, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Ignacio Lozano & Jorge Toro, 2007. "Fiscal Policy Throughout the Cycle: The Colombian Experience," Borradores de Economia 434, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    6. Victor D. Lledó & Irene Yackovlev & Lucie Gadenne, 2011. "A Tale of Cyclicality, Aid Flows and Debt: Government Spending in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), pages 823-849.
    7. Enrique Alberola-Ila & Ricardo Sousa, 2017. "Assessing fiscal policy through the lens of the financial and the commodity price cycles," BIS Working Papers 638, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Juan Carlos Berganza, 2011. "Fiscal rules in Latin America: a survey," Occasional Papers 1108, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    9. Abbott, Andrew & Jones, Philip, 2012. "Budget deficits and social protection: Cyclical government expenditure in the OECD," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 909-911.
    10. Mauricio Villafuerte & Pablo López-Murphy & Rolando Ossowski, 2011. "Riding the Roller Coaster: Fiscal Policies of Nonrenewable Resources Exporters in Latin America and the Caribbean ," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 609, Central Bank of Chile.
    11. Ugo Panizza & Dany Jaimovich, 2007. "Prociclicalidad o Causalidad Reversa?," Research Department Publications 4509, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    12. Enrique Alberola & Iván Kataryniuk & Ángel Melguizo & René Orozco, 2016. "Fiscal policy and the cycle in Latin America: the role of financing conditions and fiscal rules," Working Papers 1604, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    13. Mauricio Villafuerte & Pablo López-Murphy & Rolando Ossowski, 2013. "Riding the Roller Coaster: Fiscal Policies of Nonrenewable Resource Exporters in Latin America and the Caribbean," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Luis Felipe Céspedes & Jordi Galí (ed.), Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance, edition 1, volume 17, chapter 5, pages 117-173 Central Bank of Chile.
    14. Juliana Dutra Araujo, 2009. "Fiscal Cycles in the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 09/158, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Carlos Vegh & Daniel Lederman & Federico R. Bennett, "undated". "Leaning Against the Wind," World Bank Other Operational Studies 26364, The World Bank.
    16. Alberola, Enrique & Molina, Luis & Navia, Daniel, 2007. "Say you fix, enjoy and relax. The deleterious effect of peg announcements on fiscal discipline in emerging markets," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 328-338, December.
    17. Sergey Vlasov, 2011. "Russian Fiscal Framework Past, Present and Future.Do we Need a Change?," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(64), pages 35-81, October -.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    procyclical fiscal policy; debt sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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