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The impact of inflation on budgetary discipline

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  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Hausmann, Ricardo

Abstract

This paper investigates budgetary rules for an economy characterized by inflation and volatile relative prices. We view the budgetary process as a limited contingencies contract between the treasury and the ministers. The budgetary process allows a minister, whose realized real budget falls short of a threshold, to ask for a treasury, the minister obtains the extra funds needed to meet the expenditure threshold level. The contract sets both the projected budget and the threshold real expenditure that justifies budget revisions. We identify the efficient contract and show that for significant state verification costs and for low volatility, the contract is non contingent (i.e., a nominal contract). For volatility significant enough the contract becomes state contingent -- it reduces the initial allocation [i.e., the projected budget,] and reduces the threshold associated with budgetary revisions. Both adjustments imply that in volatile economies the projected revenue understates the realized budget hence the average budget error is positive. As volatility increases, the contract converges to a full ex-post indexation. Hence, one of the costs of inflation is that nominal contracts lose their disciplining role in determining the real allocation. Instead, the economy shifts towards more costly arrangements like ex-post indexation, where discipline is accomplished by constant monitoring The last part of the paper uses the data from 12 Latin American countries to test the model's predictions. Our tests confirm that in an inflationary environment the planned budget is under-predicting the realized one -- higher inflation increases the budget error and the average budget error is positive.
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Suggested Citation

  • Aizenman, Joshua & Hausmann, Ricardo, 2000. "The impact of inflation on budgetary discipline," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 425-449, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:63:y:2000:i:2:p:425-449
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    1. Aizenman, Joshua, 1984. "Optimal wage re-negotiation in a closed and open economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 251-262, March.
    2. Calvo, Guillermo A. & Kaminsky, Graciela L., 1991. "Debt relief and debt rescheduling : The optimal-contract approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 5-36, July.
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    5. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto, 1999. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 253-273, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ernesto Talvi & Carlos A. Vegh, 2000. "Tax Base Variability and Procyclical Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bilin Neyapti & Secil Ozgur, 2007. "The Effects Of Fiscal And Monetary Discipline On Budgetary Outcomes," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(2), pages 146-155, April.
    3. Magazzino, Cosimo, 2011. "The nexus between public expenditure and inflation in the Mediterranean countries," MPRA Paper 28493, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Talvi, Ernesto & Vegh, Carlos A., 2005. "Tax base variability and procyclical fiscal policy in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 156-190, October.
    5. Alejandro D Guerson & Giovanni Melina, 2011. "Public Debt Targeting An Application to the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 11/203, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Brückner, Markus & Gradstein, Mark, 2011. "Government Spending Cyclicality: Evidence from Rainfall Shocks as an Instrument for Cyclical Income," CEPR Discussion Papers 8622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Brückner, Markus & Gradstein, Mark, 2014. "Government spending cyclicality: Evidence from transitory and persistent shocks in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 107-116.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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