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The cyclicality of monetary and fiscal policy in South Africa since 1994

  • Stan du Plessis


    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Ben Smit


    (Bureau of Economic Research, Stellenbosch University)

  • Federico Sturzenegger

    (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

This paper uses an SVAR approach to discuss the cyclicality of fiscal and monetary policy in South Africa since 1994. There is substantial South African literature on this topic, but much disagreement remains. Though not undisputed, there is growing consensus that monetary policy has contributed to the remarkable stabilisation of the South African economy over this period. The evaluation of the role of fiscal policy in stabilisation has been less favourable and there is little evidence that a countercyclical fiscal stance was a priority over this period. This paper considers these issues in an empirical framework that addresses some of the shortcomings in the literature. Specifically, it constructs a structural model in contrast with the reduced form models typically used in the South African literature, incorporates the dynamic interaction between monetary and fiscal shocks on the demand side and supply shocks on the other, and avoids controversy over ‘neutral’ base years and the size of fiscal elasticities. The model confirms the consensus on monetary policy, finding it to have been largely countercyclical since 1994. On fiscal policy, this paper finds evidence of pro-cyclicality, especially in the more recent period, though the policy simulations suggest that the pro-cyclicality of fiscal policy has had little destabilising impact on real output.

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Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12/2007.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers43
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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "Can international monetary policy cooperation be counterproductive?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3-4), pages 199-217, May.
  2. Guillermo A. Calvo & Alejandro Izquierdo & Luis-Fernando Mejia, 2004. "On the Empirics of Sudden Stops: The Relevance of Balance-Sheet Effects," NBER Working Papers 10520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Romer, 1991. "Openness and Inflation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stan du Plessis, 2005. "Reconsidering the business cycle and stabilisation policies in South Africa," Working Papers 10, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  5. Cavallo, Eduardo A. & Frankel, Jeffrey A., 2008. "Does openness to trade make countries more vulnerable to sudden stops, or less? Using gravity to establish causality," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1430-1452, December.
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  7. Ortiz, Alberto & Pablo, Ottonello & Sturzenegger, Federico & Talvi, Ernesto, 2007. "Monetary and Fiscal Policies in a Sudden Stop: Is Tighter Brighter?," Working Paper Series rwp07-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. Jeffrey Frankel & Ben Smit & Federico Sturzenegger, 2008. "South Africa: Macroeconomic challenges after a decade of success," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 639-677, October.
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  18. Fedderke, J. W. & de Kadt, R. H. J. & Luiz, J. M., 2001. "Indicators of political liberty, property rights and political instability in South Africa: 1935-97," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 103-134, March.
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  22. J Fedderke & P Vaze, 2001. "THE NATURE OF SOUTH AFRICA'S TRADE PATTERNS BY ECONOMIC SECTOR, AND THE EXTENT OF TRADE LIBERALIZATION DURING THE COURSE OF THE 1990′s," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 69(3), pages 436-478, 09.
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  25. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1419-1447 is not listed on IDEAS
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  27. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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