Fiscal Policy Throughout the Cycle: The Colombian Experience


Series: 
Working Papers
Number: 
434
March
2007
Author(s) / Editor(s): 
Luis Ignacio Lozano
Jorge Toro
Publishing House: 
Banco de la República
JEL Classification: 

 
This paper reviews the relationship between the business cycle and public finances in Colombia. The evidence shows that cyclical movements in output systematically affect the situation of public finances. Hence, the distinction between the cyclical and permanent (i.e. structural) components of the fiscal balance may allow fiscal authorities to determine the extent to which the fiscal stance in a particular year reflects their discretionary actions. Our findings indicate that the cyclical component of the central government balance in Colombia has in general been fairly small. For instance, during the recession and recovery period 1999-2003, the cyclical component attained, on average, -0,5% of the GDP which explained only 8% of the actual overall deficit. More recently in 2006, the cyclical component amounted to +0,8% of the GDP, equivalent to 17% of the actual fiscal imbalance. Governments are not usually neutral during the business cycle. Ideally, they ought to practice a counter-cyclical fiscal policy to moderate the magnitude of output fluctuations. However, in emerging economies, counter-cyclical fiscal policies are inhibited by domestic and external factors, such as credit restrictions, quality of institutions, fiscal rules, corruption, voracity effect, etc. Using a standard approach we find that fiscal policy in Colombia has been pro-cyclical over the last 45 years or so, with the primary surplus falling (and the deficit rising) as a share of GDP by approximately 1/5th of a percentage point when the output gap improves by one percentage point.

Paper presented at the XXIV Meeting of the Latin American Network of Central Banks and Finance Ministries, IADB Research Department, October 19 and 20 of 2006, Washington, D.C.
 
La serie Borradores de Economía es una publicación de la Subgerencia de Estudios Económicos del Banco de la República. Los trabajos son de carácter provisional, las opiniones y posibles errores son responsabilidad exclusiva del autor y sus contenidos no comprometen al Banco de la República ni a su Junta Directiva.

Category / Classification: 
Documentos en elaboración

Contenido disponible en / Available in:

  • Español
  • English

This content has been translated into English for informational purposes. Upon any query regarding its interpretation or enforceability, the Spanish version shall be deemed official, and will prevail over the English version. The authors of specific texts such as working papers or articles select the language of publication; therefore, there might be cases in which the content may only be available in English. 

-