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Cyclical fiscal policy in developing countries: the case of Africa

The paper documents three pieces of empirical evidence on fiscal policy in Africa. First, a bigger government increases the volatility of output growth. Second, fiscal policy has substantially Keynesian effects. Third, fiscal policy instruments in Africa behave either pro-cyclically or a-cyclically, but practically never counter-cyclically. Taken together, these three findings imply that fiscal policy does not contribute to output stabilization. Quite the contrary, in several African countries fiscal policy is a source of volatility. Given the large development costs of volatility, ways to encourage the adoption of a counter-cyclical fiscal policy stance are then discussed.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series MRG Discussion Paper Series with number 2408.

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Handle: RePEc:qld:uqmrg6:24
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  1. Galí, Jordi & López-Salido, J David & Vallés Liberal, Javier, 2005. "Understanding the Effects of Government Spending on Consumption," CEPR Discussion Papers 5212, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "Hypothesis Testing with Efficient Method of Moments Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 777-87, October.
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  11. Sutherland, Alan, 1997. "Fiscal crises and aggregate demand: can high public debt reverse the effects of fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 147-162, August.
  12. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2001. "Government size and automatic stabilizers: international and intranational evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 3-28, October.
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  14. van Aarle, Bas & Garretsen, Harry, 2003. "Keynesian, non-Keynesian or no effects of fiscal policy changes? The EMU case," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 213-240, June.
  15. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Hnatkovska, Viktoria & Loayza, Norman, 2004. "Volatility and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3184, The World Bank.
  17. Paolo Manasse, 2007. "Deficit Limits and Fiscal Rules for Dummies," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 455-473, July.
  18. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
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