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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. Ernesto H. Stein & Ernesto Talvi & Alejandro Grisanti, 1998. "Institutional Arrangements and Fiscal Performance: The Latin American Experience," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6435, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2012. "On Graduation from Fiscal Procyclicality," Working Paper Series rwp12-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. 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.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is fiscal policy often procyclical?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2090, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Sørensen, Bent E & Yosha, Oved, 1999. "Output Fluctuations and Fiscal Policy: US State and Local Governments 1978-1994," CEPR Discussion Papers 2286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Adriana Arreaza & Bent E. Sorensen & Oved Yosha, 1998. "Consumption Smoothing through Fiscal Policy in OECD and EU Countries," NBER Working Papers 6372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andres, 2000. "Fixed versus flexible exchange rates: Which provides more fiscal discipline?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 399-436, April.
  8. Markus Bruckner & Rabah Arezki, 2010. "International Commodity Price Shocks, Democracy, and External Debt," IMF Working Papers 10/53, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Kose, M. Ayhan, 2002. "Explaining business cycles in small open economies: 'How much do world prices matter?'," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 299-327, March.
  10. Nina Budina & Andrea Schaechter & Anke Weber & Tidiane Kinda, 2012. "Fiscal Rules in Response to the Crisis; Toward the "Next-Generation" Rules: A New Dataset," IMF Working Papers 12/187, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Catão, Luis A.V. & Fostel, Ana & Kapur, Sandeep, 2009. "Persistent gaps and default traps," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 271-284, July.
  12. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Vegh, 2004. "When it Rains, it Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Working Papers 10780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lane, Philip R & Tornell, Aaron, 1996. " Power, Growth, and the Voracity Effect," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 213-41, June.
  14. Enrique G. Mendoza & Marco E. Terrones, 2008. "An Anatomy Of Credit Booms: Evidence From Macro Aggregates And Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 14049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  17. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Perotti & Ernesto Talvi, 1996. "Managing Fiscal Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volatility, Procyclicality, and Limited Creditworthiness," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6797, Inter-American Development Bank.
  18. International Monetary Fund, 2010. "Fiscal Policy in Oil Producing Countries During the Recent Oil Price Cycle," IMF Working Papers 10/28, International Monetary Fund.
  19. 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.
  20. Philip R. Lane & Aaron Tornell, 1999. "The Voracity Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 22-46, March.
  21. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-37, February.
  22. Cuddington, John, 1989. "Commodity Export Booms in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 143-65, July.
  23. 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.
  24. Alberto Alesina & Ricardo Hausmann & Rudolf Hommes & Ernesto Stein, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Latin America," NBER Working Papers 5586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. Blattman, Christopher & Hwang, Jason & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Winners and losers in the commodity lottery: The impact of terms of trade growth and volatility in the Periphery 1870-1939," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 156-179, January.
  27. Andres Velasco, 1999. "A Model of Endogenous Fiscal Deficits and Delayed Fiscal Reforms," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 37-58 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
  29. 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.
  30. Graciela L Kaminsky, 2010. "Terms of Trade Shocks and Fiscal Cycles," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Renée Fry & Callum Jones & Christopher Kent (ed.), Inflation in an Era of Relative Price Shocks Reserve Bank of Australia.
  31. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carlos A. Vegh, 2008. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: Truth or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 14191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Nese Erbil, 2011. "Is Fiscal Policy Procyclical in Developing Oil-Producing Countries?," IMF Working Papers 11/171, International Monetary Fund.
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