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Public expenditure and consumption volatility


  • Herrera, Santiago
  • Vincent, Bruno


Recent estimates of the welfare cost of consumption volatility find that it is significant in developing nations, where it may reach an equivalent of reducing consumption by 10 percent per year. Hence, examining the determinants of consumption volatility is of utmost relevance. Based on cross-country data for the period 1960-2005, the paper explains consumption volatility using three sets of variables: one refers to the volatility of income and the persistence of income shocks; the second set of variables refers to policy volatility, considering the volatility of public spending and the size of government; while the third set captures the ability of agents to smooth shocks, and includes the depth of the domestic financial markets as well as the degree of integration to international capital markets. To allow for potential endogenous regressors, in particular the volatility of fiscal policy and the size of government, the system is estimated using the instrumental variables method. The results indicate that, besides income volatility, the variables with the largest and most robust impact on consumption volatility are government size and the volatility of public spending. Results also show that deeper and more stable domestic financial markets reduce the volatility of consumption, and that more integrated financial markets to the international capital markets are associated with lower volatility of consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Herrera, Santiago & Vincent, Bruno, 2008. "Public expenditure and consumption volatility," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4633, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4633

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vasia Panousi & George-Marios Angeletos, 2007. "Revisiting the Supply-Side Effects of Government Spending Under Incomplete Markets," 2007 Meeting Papers 545, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2013. "Policy Volatility, Institutions, and Economic Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 362-376, May.
    3. Bekaert, Geert & Harvey, Campbell R. & Lundblad, Christian, 2006. "Growth volatility and financial liberalization," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 370-403, April.
    4. Norman V. Loayza & Romain Rancière & Luis Servén & Jaume Ventura, 2007. "Macroeconomic Volatility and Welfare in Developing Countries: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(3), pages 343-357, October.
    5. Antonio Fatás & Ilian Mihov, 2003. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1419-1447.
    6. Athanasoulis, Stefano G. & van Wincoop, Eric, 2000. "Growth uncertainty and risksharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 477-505, June.
    7. W. J. Henisz, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Economic Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 1-31, March.
    8. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 1999. "A new database on financial development and structure," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2146, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sacchi, Agnese & Salotti, Simone, 2015. "The impact of national fiscal rules on the stabilisation function of fiscal policy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-20.
    2. Mirdala, Rajmund & Svrčeková, Aneta, 2014. "Financial Integration, Volatility of Financial Flows and Macroeconomic Volatility," MPRA Paper 61845, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Combes, Jean-Louis & Ebeke, Christian, 2011. "Remittances and Household Consumption Instability in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 1076-1089, July.
    4. Combes, Jean-Louis & Ebeke, Christian Hubert & Etoundi, Sabine Mireille Ntsama & Yogo, Thierry Urbain, 2014. "Are Remittances and Foreign Aid a Hedge Against Food Price Shocks in Developing Countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 81-98.
    5. Ang, James B., 2011. "Finance and consumption volatility: Evidence from India," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 947-964, October.

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    Economic Conditions and Volatility; Emerging Markets; Economic Stabilization; Economic Theory&Research; Currencies and Exchange Rates;

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