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Fiscal Policy Throughout the Cycle: The Colombian Experience

  • Ignacio Lozano

    ()

  • Jorge Toro

    ()

This paper reviews the relationship between the business cycle and public finances in Colombia. The evidence shows that cyclical movements in output systematically affect the situation of public finances. Hence, the distinction between the cyclical and permanent (i.e. structural) components of the fiscal balance may allow fiscal authorities to determine the extent to which the fiscal stance in a particular year reflects their discretionary actions. Our findings indicate that the cyclical component of the central government balance in Colombia has in general been fairly small. For instance, during the recession and recovery period 1999-2003, the cyclical component attained, on average, -0,5% of the GDP which explained only 8% of the actual overall deficit. More recently in 2006, the cyclical component amounted to +0,8% of the GDP, equivalent to 17% of the actual fiscal imbalance. Governments are not usually neutral during the business cycle. Ideally, they ought to practice a counter-cyclical fiscal policy to moderate the magnitude of output fluctuations. However, in emerging economies, counter-cyclical fiscal policies are inhibited by domestic and external factors, such as credit restrictions, quality of institutions, fiscal rules, corruption, voracity effect, etc. Using a standard approach we find that fiscal policy in Colombia has been pro-cyclical over the last 45 years or so, with the primary surplus falling (and the deficit rising) as a share of GDP by approximately 1/5th of a percentage point when the output gap improves by one percentage point.

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Paper provided by Banco de la Republica de Colombia in its series Borradores de Economia with number 434.

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Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:434
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  1. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
  2. Hodrick, Robert J & Prescott, Edward C, 1997. "Postwar U.S. Business Cycles: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, February.
  3. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  5. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paolo Manasse, 2006. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy: Shocks, Rules, and Institutions: A View From Mars," IMF Working Papers 06/27, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is Fiscal Policy often Procyclical?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1556, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Enrique Alberola & Manuel Montero, 2006. "Debt Sustainability and Procyclical Fiscal Policies in Latin America," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  9. Luis Igancio Lozano & Carolina Aristizabal, . "Déficit Público y Desempeño Económico en los Noventa: El Caso Colombiano," Borradores de Economia 261, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  10. Carolina Mejía Mantilla & Mauricio Cárdenas & Mauricio Olivera, 2006. "La economía política del proceso presupuestal en Colombia," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 002988, FEDESARROLLO.
  11. repec:idb:brikps:6797 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Maria Antoinette Silgoner & Jesús Crespo-Cuaresma & Gerhard Reitschuler, 2003. "The Fiscal Smile: The Effectiveness and Limits of Fiscal Stabilizers," IMF Working Papers 03/182, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Perotti & Ernesto Talvi, 1996. "Managing Fiscal Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volatility, Procyclicality, and Limited Creditworthiness," Research Department Publications 4032, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
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