IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Solution to Fiscal Procyclicality: The Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile

  • Jeffrey A. Frankel

Historically, many countries have suffered a pattern of procyclical fiscal policy: spending too much in booms and then forced to cut back in recessions. This problem has especially plagued Latin American commodity exporters. Since 2000, fiscal policy in Chile has been governed by a structural budget rule that has succeeded in implementing countercyclical fiscal policy. Official estimates of trend output and the 10-year price of copper - which are key to the decomposition of the budget into structural versus cyclical components - are made by expert panels and thus insulated from the political process. Chile's fiscal institutions hold useful lessons everywhere, but especially in other commodity exporting countries. This paper finds statistical support for a series of hypotheses regarding forecasts by official agencies that have responsibility for formulating the budget. 1) Official forecasts of budgets and GDP in a 33-country sample are overly optimistic on average. 2) The bias is stronger at longer horizons 3) The bias is greater among European governments that are politically subject to the budget rules in the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). 4) The bias is greater in booms. 5) In most countries, the real growth rate is the key macroeconomic input for budget forecasting. In Chile it is the price of copper. 6) Real copper prices mean-revert in the long run, but this is not readily perceived. 7) Chile has avoided the problem of overly optimistic official forecasts. The conclusion: official forecasts tend to be overly optimistic, if not insulated from politics, and the problem can be worse when the government is formally subject to budget rules. The key innovation that has allowed Chile to achieve countercyclical fiscal policy in general, and to run surpluses in booms in particular, is not just a structural budget rule in itself, but a regime that entrusts to independent expert panels responsibility for estimating long-run trends in copper prices and GDP.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16945.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Jeffrey Frankel, 2011. "A Solution to Fiscal Procyclicality: the Structural Budget Institutions Pioneered by Chile," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 14(2), pages 39-78, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16945
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:

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. Tilman Brück & Andreas Stephan, 2005. "Do Eurozone Countries Cheat with Their Budget Deficit Forecasts?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 508, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Marco Terrones & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2008. "An Anatomy of Credit Booms: Evidence From Macro Aggregates and Micro Data," IMF Working Papers 08/226, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Ernesto H. Stein & Ernesto Talvi & Alejandro Grisanti, 1998. "Institutional Arrangements and Fiscal Performance: The Latin American Experience," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6435, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Kareem Ismail & Rabah Arezki, 2010. "Boom-Bust Cycle, Asymmetrical Fiscal Response and the Dutch Disease," IMF Working Papers 10/94, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Daniel Lederman & William F. Maloney, 2007. "Natural Resources : Neither Curse nor Destiny," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7183.
    • Anthony J. Venables & William Maloney & Ari Kokko & Claudio Bravo Ortega & Daniel Lederman & Roberto Rigobón & José De Gregorio & Jesse Czelusta & Shamila A. Jayasuriya & Magnus Blomström & L. Colin X, 2007. "Natural Resources: Neither Curse nor Destiny," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 59538 edited by William Maloney & Daniel Lederman, May.
  6. Paulo A. Medas & Daria Zakharova, 2009. "A Primeron Fiscal Analysis in Oil-Producing Countries," IMF Working Papers 09/56, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Goodwin, Barry K. & Holt, Matthew T. & Prestemon, Jeffery P., 2008. "The Commodity Terms of Trade, Unit Roots, and Nonlinear Alternatives: A Smooth Transition Approach," MPRA Paper 9684, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto, 1999. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 253-273, August.
  9. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2008. "The Effect of Monetary Policy on Real Commodity Prices," NBER Chapters, in: Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, pages 291-333 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sebastian Edwards & Alejandra Cox Edwards, 2000. "Economic Reforms and Labor Markets: Policy Issues and Lessons from Chile," NBER Working Papers 7646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Cuddington, John T & Urzua, Carlos M, 1989. "Trends and Cycles in the Net Barter Terms of Trade: A New Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(396), pages 426-42, June.
  12. John T. Cuddington & Rodney Ludema & Shamila A Jayasuriya, 2002. "Prebisch-Singer Redux," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 140, Central Bank of Chile.
    • Cuddington, John T. & Ludema, Rodney & Jayasuriya, Shamila A, 2002. "Prebisch-Singer Redux," Working Papers 15857, United States International Trade Commission, Office of Economics.
  13. Ricardo J. Caballero, 2002. "Coping with Chile’s External Vulnerability: A Financial Problem," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 154, Central Bank of Chile.
  14. César Calderón & Roberto Duncan & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2004. "Institutions and Cyclical Properties of Macroeconomic Policies," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 285, Central Bank of Chile.
  15. Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2010. "The Natural Resource Curse: A Survey," Scholarly Articles 4454156, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Kellard, Neil & Wohar, Mark E., 2006. "On the prevalence of trends in primary commodity prices," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 146-167, February.
  17. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
  18. Carlos Marinheiro, 2008. "The stability and growth pact, fiscal policy institutions and stabilization in Europe," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 189-207, July.
  19. Robert S. Pindyck, 1999. "The Long-Run Evolutions of Energy Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-27.
  20. 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.
  21. Rabah Arezki & Markus Brückner, 2012. "Resource Windfalls and Emerging Market Sovereign Bond Spreads: The Role of Political Institutions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 26(1), pages 78-99.
  22. David I. Harvey & Neil M. Kellard & Jakob B. Madsen & Mark E. Wohar, 2010. "The Prebisch-Singer Hypothesis: Four Centuries of Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 367-377, May.
  23. Cristóbal Aninat & John Landregan & Patricio Navia & Joaquín Vial, 2006. "Political Institutions, Policymaking Processes and Policy Outcomes in Chile," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 39738, Inter-American Development Bank.
  24. Andres Velasco & Alejandro Neut, 2003. "Tough Policies, Incredible Policies?," NBER Working Papers 9932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Michael Gavin & Ricardo Hausmann & Roberto Perotti & Ernesto Talvi, 1996. "Managing Fiscal Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean: Volatility, Procyclicality, and Limited Creditworthiness," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6797, Inter-American Development Bank.
  26. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2012. "On Graduation from Fiscal Procyclicality," Working Paper Series rwp12-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  27. Frederick van der Ploeg & Steven Poelhekke, 2007. "Volatility, Financial Development and the Natural Resource Curse," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/36, European University Institute.
  28. Mauricio Villafuerte & Rolando Ossowski & Theo Thomas & Paulo A. Medas, 2008. "Managing the Oil Revenue Boom: The Role of Fiscal Institutions," IMF Occasional Papers 260, International Monetary Fund.
  29. Grilli, Enzo R & Yang, Maw Cheng, 1988. "Primary Commodity Prices, Manufactured Goods Prices, and the Terms of Trade of Developing Countries: What the Long Run Shows," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(1), pages 1-47, January.
  30. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Introduction to "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance"," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 1-12 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Ethan Ilzetzki & Carlos A. Vegh, 2008. "Procyclical Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: Truth or Fiction?," NBER Working Papers 14191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Cuddington, John, 1989. "Commodity Export Booms in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 143-65, July.
  33. Perry, Guillermo, 2003. "Can fiscal rules help reduce macroeconomic volatility in the Latin America and Caribbean Region?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3080, The World Bank.
  34. César Calderón & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2008. "Business Cycles and Fiscal Policies: the Role of Institutions and financial Markets," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 481, Central Bank of Chile.
  35. Chang, Chia-Lin & Franses, Philip Hans & McAleer, Michael, 2011. "How accurate are government forecasts of economic fundamentals? The case of Taiwan," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1066-1075, October.
  36. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why is fiscal policy often procyclical?," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000465, UCLA Department of Economics.
  37. Beetsma, Roel & Giuliodori, Massimo & Walschot, Mark & Wierts, Peter, 2010. "Fifty Years of Fiscal Planning and Implementation in the Netherlands," CEPR Discussion Papers 7969, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  38. Francisco Gallego & Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2002. "Capital Controls in Chile: Were They Effective?," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 12, pages 361-412 Central Bank of Chile.
  39. Ashiya, Masahiro, 2007. "Forecast accuracy of the Japanese government: Its year-ahead GDP forecast is too optimistic," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 68-85, January.
  40. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2009. "Planning to cheat: EU fiscal policy in real time," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 753-804, October.
  41. Reinhart, Carmen & Wickham, Peter, 1994. "Commodity Prices: Cyclical Weakness or Secular Decline?," MPRA Paper 8173, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  42. Lorenzo Forni & Sandro Momigliano, 2004. "Cyclical sensitivity of fiscal policies based on real-time data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 540, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  43. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-74, December.
  44. 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.
  45. Yael S. Hadass & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Terms of Trade Shocks and Economic Performance 1870-1940: Prebisch and Singer Revisited," NBER Working Papers 8188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2002. "Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises: An Overview," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Leonardo Hernández & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Se (ed.), Banking, Financial Integration, and International Crises, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 1, pages 001-030 Central Bank of Chile.
  47. von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
  48. Martin Mühleisen & Kornélia Krajnyák & Stephan Danninger & David Hauner & Bennett Sutton, 2005. "How Do Canadian Budget Forecasts Compare with Those of Other Industrial Countries?," IMF Working Papers 05/66, International Monetary Fund.
  49. César Calderón & Roberto Duncan & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel., 2010. "Institutions and Cyclical Properties of Macroeconomic Policies in the Global Economy," Documentos de Trabajo 372, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  50. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 1-31, March.
  51. Graciela L. Kaminsky & Carmen M. Reinhart & Carlos A. Végh, 2005. "When It Rains, It Pours: Procyclical Capital Flows and Macroeconomic Policies," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2004, Volume 19, pages 11-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  52. Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro, 2010. "Fiscal sustainability and the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts: do supranational forecasts rather than government forecasts make a difference?," GEMF Working Papers 2010-07, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.
  53. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, December.
  54. Larraín B., Felipe & Parro, Francisco, 2008. "Chile menos volátil," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(299), pages 563-596, julio-sep.
  55. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2004. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 210, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  56. Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-49.
  57. Auerbach, Alan Jeffrey, 1999. "On the Performance and Use of Government Revenue Forecasts," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt8h845262, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  58. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori, 2010. "Fiscal adjustment to cyclical developments in the OECD: an empirical analysis based on real-time data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(3), pages 419-441, July.
  59. Jorge C. Rodriguez & Carla R. Tokman & Alejandra C. Vega, 2007. "Structural Balance Policy in Chile," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 59-92.
  60. Reinhart, Carmen & Reinhart, Vincent, 2009. "Fiscal stimulus for debt intolerant countries?," MPRA Paper 16937, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  61. John T Cuddington & Daniel Jerrett, 2008. "Super Cycles in Real Metals Prices?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(4), pages 541-565, December.
  62. César Calderón & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2003. "Macroeconomic Policies and Performance in Latin America," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 217, Central Bank of Chile.
  63. Markus Bruckner & Rabah Arezki, 2010. "International Commodity Price Shocks, Democracy, and External Debt," IMF Working Papers 10/53, International Monetary Fund.
  64. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1986. "Expectations and Commodity Price Dynamics: The Overshooting Model," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(2), pages 344-348.
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:16945. 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.