IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Brazil's Fiscal Stance during 1995-2005: The Effect of Indebtedness on Fiscal Policy Over the Business Cycle

Listed author(s):
  • Luiz de Mello
  • Diego Moccero

Brazil's fiscal adjustment since the floating of the real in 1999 has been impressive, even in periods of lacklustre growth. This suggests a remarkable fiscal effort to ensure public debt sustainability. To better gauge the magnitude of this adjustment effort, this paper applies the methodology used by the OECD Secretariat to distinguish changes in the fiscal stance that are due to policy action from those that are related to the automatic stabilisers built into the tax code, the social security system and unemployment insurance. The paper's main finding is that discretionary action tends to be essentially pro-cyclical in downturns, underscoring the presence of a strong "sustainability motive" in the conduct of Brazilian fiscal policy. Spending on mandatory items, such as personnel, are pro-cyclical in upturns too, which can create a "ratcheting-up" effect on government spending over time, an issue that will have to be addressed to improve the quality of on-going fiscal adjustment. An increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio by 1 percentage point is associated with a decrease in discretionary federal spending by 0.33 percentage point during 1997-2005. This responsiveness appears to have become stronger after the floating of the real in 1999. This Working Paper relates to the 2005 OECD Economic Survey of Brazil ( Orientation de la politique budgétaire au Brésil sur la période 1995-2005 : L'effet de l'endettement L'ajustement budgétaire du Brésil depuis l'adoption d'un régime de taux de change flottant en 1999 a été impressionnant, malgré la morosité de la croissance pendant ces années. Cela suggère un remarquable effort budgétaire pour assurer la soutenabilité de la dette publique. Pour mieux évaluer l'ampleur de cet effort d'ajustement, ce document applique la méthodologie utilisée par le Secrétariat de l'OCDE pour distinguer les changements dans la position budgétaire liés à l'orientation de la politique discrétionnaire de ceux liés aux stabilisateurs automatiques du code des impôts, du système de sécurité sociale et de l'assurance chômage. Les calculs sont utilisés pour estimer la sensibilité des initiatives de la politique discrétionnaire à un changement de la dette publique. La politique budgétaire discrétionnaire est essentiellemen procyclique dans les phases de basses conjonctures, ceci est la principale conclusion rapportée dans ce document. Cela souligne que la conduite de la politique budgétaire Brésilienne est fortement motivée par la soutenabilité de la dette publique. Les catégories de dépenses obligatoires, comme les dépenses en personnel,sont également procycliques dans les périodes de reprise. Ceci crée un effet rattrapage en «dents de scie» des dépenses publiques, une question qui devra être abordée pour améliorer la qualité de l'ajustement budgétaire progressif. Une augmentation du ratio de la dette publique sur le PIB de 1% est associé à une baisse de 0.33 point de pourcentage dans les dépenses discrétionnaires au niveau fédéral. Cette réponse paraît s'être renforcée après l'adoption d'un régime de taux de change flottant en 1999. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l'Étude économique de l'OCDE du Brésil, 2005 (

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 OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 485.

in new window

Date of creation: 22 May 2006
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:485-en
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

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:oec:ecoaaa:485-en. 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.