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Pro-cyclical fiscal policy in brazil: evidence from the states


  • Arena, Marco
  • Revilla, Julio E.


The empirical literature on budget cyclicality has generally focused more on assessing the degree of pro-cyclicality in federal (central government) revenues and expenditures and less on budget cyclicality at the sub-national level in multi-tiered systems. This paper attempts to contribute to the literature on budget cyclicality by examining how sub-national fiscal revenues and expenditures are linked to the business cycle in Brazil, particularly after the introduction of the Fiscal Responsibility Law. It explains the degree of pro-cyclicality across Brazilian states, and assesses whether intergovernmental transfers help to stabilize states’ finances. These issues are addressed using both a time-series and a cross-section dimension at the Brazilian state level for the period 1991-2006. The empirical evidence suggests the existence of a pro-cyclical fiscal policy in Brazil at the state level. However, the introduction of the Fiscal Responsibility Law helped to reduce Brazilian states’ spending-side pro-cyclicality. For the Brazilian states, the main source of the observed pro-cyclicality is found in the behavior of tax revenues directly collected by the state governments. Intergovernmental transfers (federal transfers to the states) are not associated with changes in gross state product, but they are pro-cyclically aligned with national gross domestic product, which could amplify the pro-cyclical behavior of sub-national expenditures.

Suggested Citation

  • Arena, Marco & Revilla, Julio E., 2009. "Pro-cyclical fiscal policy in brazil: evidence from the states," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5144, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5144

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    Cited by:

    1. Abbott, Andrew & Cabral, René & Jones, Philip & Palacios, Roberto, 2015. "Political pressure and procyclical expenditure: An analysis of the expenditures of state governments in Mexico," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 195-206.
    2. Azevedo, Joao Pedro & David, Antonio C. & Bastos, Fabiano Rodrigues & Pineda, Emilio, 2014. "Fiscal adjustment and income inequality : sub-national evidence from Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6945, The World Bank.
    3. Andrew Abbott & Philip Jones, 2016. "Fiscal Illusion and Cyclical Government Expenditure: State Government Expenditure in the United States," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(2), pages 177-193, May.
    4. Andrew Abbott & Philip Jones, 2013. "Procyclical government spending: a public choice analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(3), pages 243-258, March.
    5. Abbott, Andrew & Jones, Philip, 2011. "Procyclical government spending: Patterns of pressure and prudence in the OECD," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 230-232, June.

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    Subnational Economic Development; Debt Markets; Access to Finance; Banks&Banking Reform; Fiscal Adjustment;

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