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Explaining Procyclical Fiscal Policy in African Countries †


  • John Thornton


Simple time series regressions for 37 low-income African countries during 1960--2004 suggest that government consumption is highly procyclical, with consumption responding more than proportionately to fluctuations in output in many cases. The results from a cross-country specification suggest that government consumption is more procyclical in those African countries that are more reliant on foreign aid inflows and that are less corrupt, and that it is less procyclical in countries with unequal income distribution and that are more democratic. These results contrast with those from recent research using data sets that comprise a more diverse groups of countries in terms of geography and income levels. Copyright 2008 The author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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  • John Thornton, 2008. "Explaining Procyclical Fiscal Policy in African Countries †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(3), pages 451-464, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:17:y:2008:i:3:p:451-464

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Ravallion, 2003. "Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 645-652, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Pigon & Michal Ramsza, 2016. "Impact Of A Modified Hp Filter On Countercyclical Behavior Of The Swiss Fiscal Rule," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 11(4), pages 661-674, December.
    2. Sampawende Jules TAPSOBA & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 2009. "Pro cyclicité de la politique budgétaire et surveillance multilatérale dans les unions monétaires africaines," Working Papers 200904, CERDI.
    3. 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.
    4. Marius Ikpe & Alwell Nteegah, 2013. "Value Added Tax and price stability in Nigeria: A partial equilibrium analysis," European Journal of Government and Economics, Europa Grande, vol. 2(2), pages 137-147, December.
    5. BIKAI, J. Landry, 2015. "Fiscal Rules and Pro-cyclicality of the Fiscal Policy in CEMAC countries," MPRA Paper 78229, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Charl Jooste & Marina Marinkov, 2012. "South Africa'S Transition To A Consolidated Budget," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 80(2), pages 181-199, June.
    7. Christian EBEKE, 2010. "Transferts des migrants, ouverture sur l'extérieur et dépenses publiques dans les pays en développement," Working Papers 201011, CERDI.
    8. Christian Ebeke & Helene Ehrhart, 2012. "Tax Revenue Instability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Consequences and Remedies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(1), pages 1-27, January.
    9. G. C. Lim & Paul D. McNelis, 2008. "Cyclical Government Spending, Income Inequality and Welfare in Small Open Economies," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2008n18, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Bevan, David L., 2010. "Fiscal policy issues for Tanzania," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36380, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Jean-Louis COMBES & Mary-Françoise RENARD & Sampawende Jules TAPSOBA, 2015. "Provincial Public Expenditure in China: A Tale of Profligacy," Working Papers 201524, CERDI.
    12. Sampawende J Tapsoba & Robert C York & Neree C.G.M. Noumon, 2016. "Can Statistical Capacity Building Help Reduce Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries?," IMF Working Papers 16/209, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Ahmed, Abdullahi D. & Suardi, Sandy, 2009. "Macroeconomic Volatility, Trade and Financial Liberalization in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1623-1636, October.
    14. repec:kap:iecepo:v:15:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10368-016-0367-x is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Remi Jedwab & Adam Storeygard, "undated". "Economic and Political Factors in Infrastructure Investment: Evidence from Railroads and Roads in Africa 1960–2015," Working Papers 2017-3, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    16. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00229 is not listed on IDEAS

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