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Boom–bust cycles and procyclical fiscal policy in a small open economy


  • Maravalle, Alessandro
  • Claeys, Peter


The PIGS countries have suffered economic instability and fiscal havoc in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis. We argue this is the consequence of pursuing procyclical fiscal policies. We add a fiscal rule, which varies public spending with the cycle, to an otherwise standard RBC model of a small open economy. This procyclical reaction of fiscal policy to output distorts intertemporal allocation decisions. Procyclical spending generates very volatile cycles in investment and the current account. Our model is able to replicate the relationship between the degree of cyclicality of fiscal policy and the volatility of consumption, investment and the current account we observe in OECD countries. A policy that let automatic stabilisers work can effectively smooth economic fluctuations, especially after structural reforms that raise the responsiveness of the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Maravalle, Alessandro & Claeys, Peter, 2012. "Boom–bust cycles and procyclical fiscal policy in a small open economy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 735-754.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jpolmo:v:34:y:2012:i:5:p:735-754 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpolmod.2012.01.011

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Loughrey, Jason & Hennessy, Thia, 2016. "The Common Agricultural Policy and Farmers’ Off-farm Labour Supply," 160th Seminar, December 1-2, 2016, Warsaw, Poland 249796, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Bermingham, Colin & Conefrey, Thomas, 2014. "The Irish macroeconomic response to an external shock with an application to stress testing," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 454-470.
    3. Matthias Bauer, 2013. "Political Aversion To a Multilateral Fiscal Rule: The Dynamic Commitment Problem in European Fiscal Governance," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 44-2013, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item


    RBC; Current account; Small open economy; Fiscal rule; Spending;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus


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