Friday, April 12, 2013

Boom–bust cycle, asymmetrical fiscal response and the Dutch disease

Journal of Development Economics: This paper investigates the changes in expenditure policy in oil-exporting countries during boom–bust in commodity price cycles, and their implications for real exchange rate movements. To do so, we introduce a Dutch disease model with downward rigidities in government spending to revenue shocks. This model leads to a decoupling between real exchange rate and commodity export price movement during busts. We test our model's theoretical predictions and underlying assumptions using panel data for 32 oil-exporting countries over the period 1992 to 2009. Results are threefold. First, we find that changes in current spending have a stronger impact on real exchange rate compared to capital spending. Second, we find that current spending is downwardly sticky, but increases in boom time, and conversely for capital spending. Third, we find limited evidence that fiscal rules have helped reduce the degree of responsiveness of current spending during booms. In contrast, we find evidence that fiscal rules are associated with a significant reduction in capital expenditure during busts while responsiveness to booms is more muted. This raises concerns on potential adverse consequences of this asymmetry on economic performance in oil-exporting countries.

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