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Government Spending Cyclicality: Evidence from Rainfall Shocks as an Instrument for Cyclical Income

  • Brückner, Markus
  • Gradstein, Mark

This research revisits the cyclicality of fiscal policies. To identify and estimate more precisely the magnitude of a causal effect of cyclical income on government spending, we employ annual rainfall data as an instrument for national income in the context of sub-Saharan countries. Our results confirm procyclical behavior of government spending and of tax revenues; debt and deficit are found to be countercyclical. Specifically, government spending is procyclical during upturns and acyclical during downturns. We also find that its procyclicality is correlated with corruption, especially among democracies.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8622.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8622
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  1. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  2. Brückner, Markus, 2012. "An instrumental variables approach to estimating tax revenue elasticities: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 220-227.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2006. "Rent seeing distortions and fiscal procyclicality," MPRA Paper 8726, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Dec 2007.
  5. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
  6. Ugo Panizza & Dany Jaimovich, 2007. "Procyclicality or Reverse Causality?," Research Department Publications 4508, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Aizenman, Joshua & Hausmann, Ricardo, 2000. "The impact of inflation on budgetary discipline," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 425-449, December.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is fiscal policy often procyclical?," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000465, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  10. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
  11. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Zvi Hercowitz & Michel Strawczynski, 2004. "Cyclical Ratcheting in Government Spending: Evidence from the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 353-361, February.
  13. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Salvador Barrios & Luisito Bertinelli & Eric Strobl, 2010. "Trends in Rainfall and Economic Growth in Africa: A Neglected Cause of the African Growth Tragedy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 350-366, May.
  17. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
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