IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Public Debt, Fiscal Solvency and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Latin America: The Cases of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico

  • Enrique G. Mendoza
  • P. Marcelo Oviedo

Ratios of public debt as a share of GDP in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico were 10 percentage points higher on average during 1996-2002 than in the period 1990-1995. Costa Rica's debt ratio remained stable but at a high level near 50 percent. Is there reason to be concerned for the solvency of the public sector in these economies? We provide an answer to this question based on the quantitative predictions of a variant of the framework proposed by Mendoza and Oviedo (2004). This methodology yields forward-looking estimates of debt ratios consistent with fiscal solvency for a government that faces revenue uncertainty and can issue only non-state-contingent debt. In this environment, aversion to a collapse in outlays leads the government to respect a "natural debt limit" equal to the annuity value of the primary balance in a "fiscal crisis". A fiscl crisis occurs after a long sequence of adverse revenue shocks and public outlays adjust to a tolerable minimum. The debt limit also represents a credible commitment to be able to repay even in a fiscal crisis but is not, in general, the same as the sustainable debt, which is driven by the probabilistic dynamics of the primary balance. The results of a baseline scenario question the sustainability of current debt ratios in Brazil and Colombia, while those in Costa Rica and Mexico seem inside the limits consistent with fiscal solvency. In contrast, public debt ratios are found to be unsustainable in all four countries for plausible changes to lower average growth rates or higher real interest rates. Moreover, sustainable debt ratios fall sharply when default risk is taken into account.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10637.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10637.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Enrique G. Mendoza & P. Marcelo Oviedo, 2009. "Public Debt, Fiscal Solvency and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Latin America The Cases of Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico," Economia Mexicana NUEVA EPOCA, , vol. 0(2), pages 133-173, July-Dece.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10637
Note: PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
  2. Enrique G. Mendoza & Assaf Razin & Linda L. Tesar, 1994. "Effective Tax Rates in Macroeconomics: Cross-Country Estimates of Tax Rates on Factor Incomes and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  4. Arellano, Cristina, 2008. "Default risk and income fluctuations in emerging economies," MPRA Paper 7867, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6821, Inter-American Development Bank.
  6. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  8. Enrique G. Mendoza & P. Marcelo Oviedo, 2006. "Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Developing Countries: The Tale of the Tormented Insurer," NBER Working Papers 12586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  10. Cristina Arellano, 2005. "Default Risk, the Real Exchange Rate and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," 2005 Meeting Papers 516, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-19, September.
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. repec:rus:hseeco:123922 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Nigel Andrew Chalk & Richard Hemming, 2000. "Assessing Fiscal Sustainability in Theory and Practice," IMF Working Papers 00/81, International Monetary Fund.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Theodore M. Barnhill & George Kopits, 2003. "Assessing Fiscal Sustainability Under Uncertainity," IMF Working Papers 03/79, International Monetary Fund.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10637. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.