Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Fragility: Empirical Evidence from the OECD
Journal of International Money and Finance,
In this paper, we use local projections to investigate the impact of consolidation shocks on GDP growth, conditional on the fragility of government finances. Based on a database of fiscal plans in OECD countries, we show that spending shocks are less detrimental than tax-based consolidation. In times of fiscal fragility, our results indicate strongly that governments should consolidate through surprise policy changes rather than announcements of consolidation at a later horizon.
Ricardian Equivalence, Foreign Debt and Sovereign Default Risk
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
We study the impact of sovereign solvency on the private-public savings offset. Using data on 80 economies for 1989–2018, we find robust evidence for a U-shaped pattern in the private-public savings offset in sovereign credit ratings. While the 1:1 savings offset is observed at intermediate levels of sovereign solvency, fiscal deficits are not offset by private savings at extremely low and high levels of sovereign solvency. Particularly, the U-shaped pattern is more pronounced for countries with high levels of foreign ownership of government debt. The U-shaped pattern is an emerging market phenomenon; additionally, it is confirmed when considering foreign currency rating and external public debt, but not for domestic currency rating and domestic public debt. For considerable foreign ownership of sovereign bonds, sovereign default constitutes a net wealth gain for domestic consumers.
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The Economic Record of the Government and Sovereign Bond and Stock Returns Around National Elections
Journal of Banking and Finance,
This paper investigates the role of the fiscal and economic record of the incumbent government in shaping the price response of sovereign bonds and stocks to the election outcome in emerging markets and developed countries. For sovereign bonds in emerging markets, we find robust evidence for higher cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) if a government associated with a relatively low primary fiscal balance is voted out of office compared to elections where the fiscal balance was relatively high. This effect of the incumbent government's fiscal record is significantly more pronounced in the presence of high sovereign default risk and strong political veto players, whereas the quality of institutions does not explain differences in effects for different events. We do not find robust effects of the government's fiscal record for developed countries and stocks.
On the Twin Deficits Hypothesis and the Import Intensity in Transition Countries
International Economics and Economic Policy,
This article aims to explain the increasing deficits in the trade and current account balances of three post-transition countries–Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland–by testing two hypotheses: the twin deficit hypothesis and increasing import intensity of export production. The method uses co-integration and related techniques to test for a long-run causal relationship between the fiscal and external deficits of three post-transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition, an import intensity model is tested by applying OLS and GMM. All the results reject the Twin Deficits Hypothesis. Instead, the results demonstrate that specific transition factors such as net capital flows and, probably, a high import intensity of exports affect the trade balance.
Toward a Taylor Rule for Fiscal Policy
Review of Economic Dynamics,
In DSGE models, fiscal policy is typically described by simple rules in which tax rates respond to the level of output. We show that there is only weak empirical evidence in favor of such specifications in US data. Instead, the cyclical movements of labor and capital income tax rates are better described by a contemporaneous response to hours worked and investment, respectively. We show that conditioning on these variables is also desirable from a normative perspective as it significantly improves welfare relative to output-based rules.
International Side-payments to Improve Global Public Good Provision when Transfers are Refinanced through a Tax on Local and Global Externalities
International Economic Journal,
This paper discusses a tax-transfer scheme that aims to address the under-provision problem associated with the private supply of international public goods and to bring about Pareto optimal allocations internationally. In particular, we consider the example of the global public good ‘climate stabilization’, both in an analytical and a numerical simulation model. The proposed scheme levies Pigouvian taxes globally, while international side-payments are employed in order to provide incentives to individual countries for not taking a free-ride from the international Pigouvian tax scheme. The side-payments, in turn, are financed via environmental taxes. As a distinctive feature, we take into account ancillary benefits that may be associated with local public characteristics of climate policy. We determine the positive impact that ancillary effects may exert on the scope for financing side-payments via environmental taxation. A particular attractive feature of ancillary benefits is that they arise shortly after the implementation of climate policies and therefore yield an almost immediate payback of investments in abatement efforts. Especially in times of high public debt levels, long periods of amortization would tend to reduce political support for investments in climate policy.