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Are Windfalls a Curse? A Non-Representative Agent Model of the Current Account and Fiscal Policy

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  • Aaron Tornell
  • Philip Lane

Abstract

In several countries temporary terms of trade improvements have led to a deterioration of the current account. Furthermore, many of these countries failed to attain greater post-boom growth rates. The point we make is that the structure of the fiscal process is critical in determining outcomes. If fiscal control is unitary, then the consumption-smoothing effect is operative, and representative-agent models of the current account have predictive power. However, if control is divided among several fiscal claimants, a voracity effect appears which counteracts the consumption-smoothing effect, leading to a deterioration of the current account in response to a positive shock. We model the interaction among fiscal claimants as a dynamic game, and show that in equilibrium aggregate appropriation increases more than the windfall itself. This results in a deterioration of the current account. We also show that all the windfall is dissipated, with the country experiencing no increase in its growth rate. Lastly, we analyze the experiences of seven countries which have enjoyed large windfalls.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Tornell & Philip Lane, 1994. "Are Windfalls a Curse? A Non-Representative Agent Model of the Current Account and Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 4839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4839
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Morales, 2011. "Variedades de recursos naturales y crecimiento económico," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, December.
    2. Marcela Eslava, 2006. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy: Survey," Research Department Publications 4487, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Everhart, Stephen & Duval-Hernandez, Robert, 2001. "Management of oil windfalls in Mexico : historical experience and policy options for the future," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2592, The World Bank.
    4. Guerguil, Martine & Mandon, Pierre & Tapsoba, René, 2017. "Flexible fiscal rules and countercyclical fiscal policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 189-220.
    5. Aristovnik, Aleksander, 2006. "The Determinants & Excessiveness of Current Account Deficits in Eastern Europe & the Former Soviet Union," MPRA Paper 483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2007. "Short- And Medium-Term Determinants Of Current Account Balances In Middle East And North Africa Countries," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp862, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    7. Angelo Antoci, 2005. "Environmental Resources Depletion and Interplay Between Negative and Positive Externalities in a Growth Model," Working Papers 2005.9, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Roberto Duncan, 2003. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect Revisited: An Indirect-Utility-Function Approach," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 250, Central Bank of Chile.
    9. World Bank, 2011. "Fiscal Responsibility Framework in Croatia : Lessons from the Past, Rules for the Future," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12895, The World Bank.
    10. Guillermo Vuletin, 2013. "Exchange Rate Regimes And Fiscal Discipline: The Role Of Capital Controls," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 2096-2109, October.
    11. Piotr Misztal, 2010. "The Harberger-Laursen-Metzler Effect. Theory and Practice in Poland," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 13(38), pages 129-146, December.
    12. Luisa Zanforlin & César Calderón & Alberto Chong, 2001. "Are African Current Account Deficits Different? Stylized Facts, Transitory Shocks, and Decomposition Analysis," IMF Working Papers 01/4, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Aleksander Aristovnik, 2006. "How Excessive are External Imbalances in Selected Transition Countries?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2006(3), pages 243-267.
    14. Guillermo J. Vuletin, 2004. "Exchange Rate Regimes And Fiscal Performance. Do Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes Generate More Discipline Than Flexible Ones?," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 474, Econometric Society.
    15. Juan P Trevino, 2011. "Oil-Price Boom and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation; Is there Dutch Disease in the Cemac?," IMF Working Papers 11/268, International Monetary Fund.
    16. Gregory Thwaites, 2006. "Optimal emerging market fiscal policy when trend output growth is unobserved," Bank of England working papers 308, Bank of England.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements

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