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Was This Time Different?: Fiscal Policy in Commodity Republics

  • Luis Felipe Céspedes
  • Andrés Velasco

According to standard economic theory, fiscal policy should be countercyclical. In the neoclassical smoothing model of Barro (1979), a government should optimally run surpluses in good times and deficits in bad times. That is the same a government should do, though for different reasons, in the standard Keynesian or neo-Keynesian framework. Yet in practice governments often seem to follow a pro-cyclical fiscal policy. Cuddington (1989), Talvi and Vegh (2005) and Sinnott (2009), among others, document that governments save little or even disave in booms. Procyclicality is most evident in Latin America (Gavin et al (1996), Gavin and Perotti (1997), Stein et al (1999)) but is also present in OECD countries (Talvi and Vegh (2005), Arreaza et al (1999), Lane (2003)).

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Paper provided by Bank for International Settlements in its series BIS Working Papers with number 365.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:365
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  1. Paul Cashin & Luis Felipe Céspedes & Ratna Sahay, 2003. "Commodity Currencies and the Real Exchange Rate," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 236, Central Bank of Chile.
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  7. Stephan Pfaffenzeller & Paul Newbold & Anthony Rayner, 2007. "A Short Note on Updating the Grilli and Yang Commodity Price Index," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(1), pages 151-163.
  8. Lane, Philip R., 2003. "The cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy: evidence from the OECD," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2661-2675, December.
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  15. Stein, Ernesto & Hommes, Rudolf & Hausmann, Ricardo & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Latin America," Scholarly Articles 4553021, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Grilli, Enzo R & Yang, Maw Cheng, 1988. "Primary Commodity Prices, Manufactured Goods Prices, and the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries: What the Long Run Shows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(1), pages 1-47, January.
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  25. 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.
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