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The Dynamic Effects of Commodity Prices on Fiscal Performance in Latin America

  • Leandro Medina

The recent boom and bust in commodity prices has raised concerns about the impact of volatile commodity prices on Latin American countries’ fiscal positions. Using a novel quarterly data set-which includes unique country-specific commodity price indices and a comprehensive measure of public expenditures-this paper analyzes the dynamic effects of commodity price fluctuations on fiscal revenues and expenditures for eight commodity-exporting Latin American countries. The results indicate that Latin American countries’ fiscal positions react strongly to shocks to commodity prices, yet there are marked differences across countries. Fiscal variables in Venezuela display the highest sensitivity to commodity price shocks, with expenditures reacting significantly more than revenues. At the other end of the spectrum, in Chile expenditure reacts very little to commodity price fluctuations, and the dynamic responses of its fiscal indicators are very similar to those seen in high-income commodity-exporting countries. This distinct behavior across countries may relate to institutional arrangements, which in some cases include the efficient application of fiscal rules amid political commitment and high standards of transparency.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/192.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/192
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  1. Sambit Bhattacharyya & Jeffrey G Williamson, 2009. "Commodity Price Shocks and the Australian Economy since Federation," Departmental Working Papers 2009-02, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is fiscal policy often procyclical?," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000465, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Ricardo J. Caballero & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2004. "Fiscal Policy and Financial Depth," NBER Working Papers 10532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Paul Collier & Benedikt Goderis, 2007. "Commodity Prices, Growth, and the Natural Resource Curse: Reconciling a Conundrum," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2006. "Rent seeing distortions and fiscal procyclicality," MPRA Paper 8726, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Dec 2007.
  6. Raddatz, Claudio, 2005. "Are external shocks responsible for the instability of output in low income countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3680, The World Bank.
  7. 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.
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