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Chile’s Fiscal Rule as Social Insurance

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  • Eduardo Engel
  • Christopher Neilson
  • Rodrigo Valdés

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Engel & Christopher Neilson & Rodrigo Valdés, 2011. "Chile’s Fiscal Rule as Social Insurance," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 627, Central Bank of Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:627
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fiscal policy as insurance
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-07-06 00:15:00

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    3. Fernando Blanco & Pablo Saavedra & Friederike Koehler-Geib & Emilia Skrok, 2020. "Fiscal Rules and Economic Size in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 34417, December.
    4. World Bank, . "Oil Rules : Kazakhstan's Policy Options in a Downturn," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 16721, March.
    5. Agénor, Pierre-Richard, 2016. "Optimal fiscal management of commodity price shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 183-196.
    6. 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).
    7. Braun, Alexander & Ben Ammar, Semir & Eling, Martin, 2019. "Asset pricing and extreme event risk: Common factors in ILS fund returns," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 59-78.
    8. 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.
    9. Zúñiga, Jimena & Capello, Marcelo & Butler, Inés & Grión, Nester, 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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