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Public Expenditure in Latin America: Trends and Key Policy Issues

  • Benedict J. Clements
  • Christopher Faircloth
  • Marijn Verhoeven
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    This paper examines trends in government spending in Latin America from the mid-1990s to 2006. It also examines key policy issues, including the cyclicality of spending, public investment, public employment, and social expenditures. It finds that primary expenditures have trended upward for the past ten years as a share of GDP, driven by increases in current spending, in particular for social expenditures. Fluctuations in real spending have continued to follow a procyclical pattern. The paper finds that there is substantial scope to improve the efficiency of public investment, public employment, and social spending.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/21.

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    Length: 34
    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/21
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    1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why Is Fiscal Policy Often Procyclical?," Working Papers 297, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Ratna Sahay & Rishi Goyal, 2006. "Volatility and Growth in Latin America: An Episodic Approach," IMF Working Papers 06/287, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Fabrizio BALASSONE & Maura FRANCESE, . "Cyclical Asymmetry in Fiscal Policy, Debt Accumulation and the Treaty of Maastricht," EcoMod2004 330600014, EcoMod.
    4. Ernesto Stein & Ernesto Talvi & Alejandro Grisanti, 1999. "Institutional Arrangements and Fiscal Performance: The Latin American Experience," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 103-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Akitoby, Bernardin & Clements, Benedict & Gupta, Sanjeev & Inchauste, Gabriela, 2006. "Public spending, voracity, and Wagner's law in developing countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 908-924, December.
    6. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Gupta, Sanjeev & Verhoeven, Marijn, 2001. "The efficiency of government expenditure: experiences from Africa," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 433-467, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Ke-young Chu & Hamid Reza Davoodi & Sanjeev Gupta, 2000. "Income Distribution and Tax and Government Social Spending Policies in Developing Countries," IMF Working Papers 00/62, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Anoop Singh & Martin D. Cerisola, 2006. "Sustaining Latin America's Resurgence: Some Historical Perspectives," IMF Working Papers 06/252, International Monetary Fund.
    11. 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.
    12. Indermit S. Gill & Truman Packard & Juan Yermo, 2005. "Keeping the Promise of Social Security in Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7391.
    13. Schiavo-Campo, Salvatore & de Tommaso, Giulio & Mukherjee, Amitabha, 1997. "An international statistical survey of government employment and wages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1806, The World Bank.
    14. Hammouya, Messaoud, 1999. "Statistics on public sector employment : methodology, structures and trends," ILO Working Papers 336246, International Labour Organization.
    15. repec:idb:brikps:59998 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Xavier Debrun & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2007. "The Discipline-Enhancing Role of Fiscal Institutions: Theory and Empirical Evidence," IMF Working Papers 07/171, International Monetary Fund.
    17. Chu, K.-y. & Davoodi, H. & Gupta, S., 2000. "Income Distribution and Tax, and Government Social Spending Policies in Developing Countries," Research Paper 214, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    18. Erwin Tiongson & Hamid Reza Davoodi & Sawitree S. Asawanuchit, 2003. "How Useful Are Benefit Incidence Analyses of Public Education and Health Spending," IMF Working Papers 03/227, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Herrera, Santiago & Pang, Gaobo, 2005. "Efficiency of public spending in developing countries : an efficiency frontier approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3645, The World Bank.
    20. Indermit S. Gill & Truman G. Packard & Juan Yermo, 2005. "Keeping the Promise of Social Security in Latin America," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59998, November.
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