Fiscal procyclicality in emerging markets: The role of institutions and economic conditions

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Procyclicality of fiscal policy is a common feature in emerging markets, by contrast with high‐income economies, and leads to greater business‐cycle am- plitudes. We investigate potential causes of fiscal procyclicality, including a host of economic and in- stitutional variables of especial import in emerging markets. We employ dynamic panel methods in a large sample of countries to investigate what factors are associated with fiscal cyclicality. We find that fiscal procyclicality is mainly due to procyclical fluctuations in government investment expenditure. In addition, we find that procyclical fiscal policy is positively associated with government debt levels, terms‐of‐trade volatility, and costs of foreign bor- rowing, while negatively associated with better gov- ernment efficiency. Only a weak association is found between International Monetary Fund program participation and fiscal procyclicality. Finally, we find that certain fiscal rules are associated with lower fiscal procyclicality and, in particular, balanced‐ budget rules may help mitigate the adverse cyclicality effects of high terms‐of‐trade volatility and govern- ment debt burdens in emerging markets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Finance
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)196-214
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

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