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Towards Effective Social Insurance in Latin America: The Importance of Countercyclical Fiscal Policy

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  • Miguel Braun
  • Luciano di Gresia

Abstract

Latin America is a volatile, crisis-prone region, with limited and inadequate social insurance. Therefore, the long-term as well as the recent poor suffer significantly during crises. Furthermore, social spending is procyclical in the region, but less so than total spending, indicating that the effectiveness of compensatory social policies designed to protect those vulnerable to crises is constrained by adjustments during recessions. The causes of procyclical fiscal policy lie in the political constraints on saving during expansions, combined with limited creditworthiness during recessions, and enhanced by economic volatility and a low share of automatic stabilizers in the budget. We evaluate policy options to reduce procyclicality of fiscal policy, such as stabilization funds, fiscal rules and reform of budget institutions, and argue in favor of integrated policy proposals based on more country-specific analysis, such as the Fiscal Responsibility Law in Brazil.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Braun & Luciano di Gresia, 2003. "Towards Effective Social Insurance in Latin America: The Importance of Countercyclical Fiscal Policy," Research Department Publications 4333, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4333
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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Gasparini, 2003. "Argentina's Distributional Failure: The Role of Integration and Public Policy," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3337, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Paolo Manasse & Ugo Panizza & Laura Dos Reis, 2007. "Targeting the Structural Balance," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1595, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Carlos Scartascini & Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi, 2008. "Veto Players, Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3352, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Leonardo Gasparini, 2003. "Argentina´s Distributional Failure: The role of Integration and Public Policies," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0001, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    5. Xiaohui Hou & Edit V. Velényi & Abdo S. Yazbeck & Roberto F. Iunes & Owen Smith, 2013. "Learning from Economic Downturns : How to Better Assess, Track, and Mitigate the Impact on the Health Sector," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16054.
    6. Jorge Puig, 2014. "Multiplicador del gasto público en Argentina," Económica, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, vol. 60, pages 188-210, January-D.
    7. Franklin Huaita & Manuel Agosín Trumper, 2007. "Why Should Emerging-Market Countries (Still) Concern Themselves With Capital Inflows?," Working Papers wp268, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    8. Leonardo Gasparini, 2003. "Argentina's Distributional Failure: The Role of Integration and Public Policy," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 42798, Inter-American Development Bank.
    9. Carlos Scartascini & Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi, 2008. "Political Institutions, State Capabilities and Public Policy: International Evidence," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 1638, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi & Ernesto H. Stein, 2008. "Un Enfoque Intertemporal Interactions and Policy Adaptability: How Do Political Institutions Work?," Research Department Publications 4594, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    11. Edit V. Velenyi & Marc F. Smitz, 2014. "Cyclical Patterns in Government Health Expenditures Between 1995 and 2010," Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) Discussion Paper Series 87885, The World Bank.
    12. World Bank, 2005. "Argentina : Sources of Growth, Seeking Sustained Economic Growth with Social Equity," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8329, The World Bank.
    13. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582.

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    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H - Public Economics

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