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Procyclicality or Reverse Causality?

  • Ugo Panizza
  • Dany Jaimovich

There is a large literature showing that fiscal policy is either acyclical or countercyclical in industrial countries and procyclical in developing countries. Most of this literature is based on OLS regressions that focus on the correlation between a fiscal variable (usually the budget balance or expenditure growth) and either GDP growth or some measure of the output gap. This paper argues that such a methodology does not permit the identification of the effect of the business cycle on fiscal policy and hence cannot be used to estimate policy reaction functions. The paper proposes a new instrument for GDP growth and shows that, once GDP growth is properly instrumented, procyclicality tends to disappear.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4508.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4508
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is Fiscal Policy often Procyclical?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1556, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Jordi Gali & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," NBER Working Papers 9773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Gabriela Inchauste & Bernardin Akitoby & Benedict J. Clements & Sanjeev Gupta, 2004. "The Cyclical and Long-Term Behavior of Government Expenditures in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 04/202, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese, 2004. "Cyclical asymmetry in fiscal policy, debt accumulation and the Treaty of Maastricht," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 531, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  7. Enrique Alberola & Manuel Montero, 2006. "Debt Sustainability and Procyclical Fiscal Policies in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  8. 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.
  9. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Emerging market business cycles: the cycle is the trend," Working Papers 04-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  10. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  11. Paolo Manasse, 2006. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy; Shocks, Rules, and Institutions: A View From Mars," IMF Working Papers 06/27, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2005. "Emerging Capital Markets in Turmoil: Bad Luck or Bad Policy?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262033348, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2004. "Fiscal Policy and Financial Depth," NBER Working Papers 10532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Roberto Rigobon, 2003. "Identification Through Heteroskedasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 777-792, November.
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