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Chile’s Fiscal Rule as Social Insurance

In: Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance

Author

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  • Eduardo Engel

    (Universidad de Chile)

  • Christopher Neilson

    (Yale University)

  • Rodrigo Valdés

    (International Monetary Fund)

Abstract

We explore the role of fiscal policy over the business cycle from a normative perspective, for a government with a highly volatile and exogenous revenue source. Instead of resorting to Keynesian mechanisms, in our framework fiscal policy plays a role because the government provides transfers to heterogeneous households facing volatile income, albeit with an imperfect transfer technology (a fraction of transfers leak to richer households). We calibrate the model to Chile’s highly volatile government revenues derived from copper, and characterize the optimal fiscal reaction. We quantify the welfare gains vis-à-vis a balanced budget rule, and the degree of adequate fiscal countercyclicality. We also analyze simpler rules, such as the structural balance rule in place in Chile during the last decade, more general linear rules, and linear rules with an escape clause. We find that the optimal rule leads to the same welfare gain as doubling the government’s copper revenues under a balanced budget rule. Chile’s structural balance rule achieves 18% of these gains, while a linear rule with an escape clause achieves 83% of the gains. The degrees of countercyclicality of the optimal rule and the linear rule with an escape clause are similar, and much larger than those of the structural balance rule.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Engel & Christopher Neilson & Rodrigo Valdés, 2013. "Chile’s Fiscal Rule as Social Insurance," 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 10, pages 393-425 Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchsb:v17c10pp393-425
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
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    5. Gadi Barlevy, 2004. "The Cost of Business Cycles and the Benefits of Stabilization: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Schechtman, Jack, 1976. "An income fluctuation problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 218-241, April.
    7. Rodrigo O. Valdes & Eduardo M Engel, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Strategy for Oil Exporting Countries," IMF Working Papers 00/118, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Alonso A Segura Vasi, 2006. "Management of Oil Wealth Under the Permanent Income Hypothesis; The Case of São Tomé and Príncipe," IMF Working Papers 06/183, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Wojciech Maliszewski, 2009. "Fiscal Policy Rules for Oil-Producing Countries; A Welfare-Based Assessment," IMF Working Papers 09/126, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Nicoletta Batini & Paul Levine, 2008. " Monetary and Fiscal Rules in an Emerging Small Open Economy," CDMA Conference Paper Series 0810, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
    11. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762.
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    Cited by:

    1. Landon, Stuart & Smith, Constance, 2017. "Does the design of a fiscal rule matter for welfare?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 226-237.
    2. Jimena Zúñiga & Marcelo Capello & Inés Butler & Nester Grión, 2013. "A Cycle-Adjusted Fiscal Rule for Sustainable and More Equitable Growth in Argentina," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 82358, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. World Bank, 2013. "Oil Rules : Kazakhstan's Policy Options in a Downturn," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16721, The World Bank.
    4. Agénor, Pierre-Richard, 2016. "Optimal fiscal management of commodity price shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 183-196.
    5. Stuart Landon and Constance Smith, 2015. "Rule-Based Resource Revenue Stabilization Funds: A Welfare Comparison," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    6. 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 011132, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    7. Jimena Zúñiga & Marcelo Capello & Inés Butler & Nester Grión, 2013. "A Cycle-Adjusted Fiscal Rule for Sustainable and More Equitable Growth in Argentina," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4638, Inter-American Development Bank.

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