We examine the existing fiscal policy paradigm in commodity-exporting countries. First,
we argue that its centerpiece—the permanent income hypothesis (PIH)—is not consistent
with either intergenerational equity or long-term sustainability in the presence of
uncertainty. Policies to achieve these goals need to be more prudent and better anchored
than the PIH. Second, we point out the presence of a volatility tradeoff between
government spending and wealth and re-assess long-held views on the appropriate fiscal
anchors, the vice of procyclicality, and the (im)possibility of simultaneously smoothing
consumption and ensuring intergenerational equity and sustainability. Finally, we propose
what we call a prudent wealth stabilization policy that would be more consistent with
long-term fiscal policy goals, yet relatively simple to implement and communicate.
Julia Faltermeier, Mr. Ruy Lama, and Juan Pablo Medina
We study the optimal foreign exchange (FX) intervention policy in response to a positive terms of trade shock
and associated Dutch disease episode in a small open economy model. We find that during a Dutch disease
episode tradable production drops below the socially optimal level, resulting in lower welfare under learningby-
doing (LBD) externalities. FX reserves accumulation improves welfare by preventing a large appreciation of
the real exchange rate and by inducing an efficient reallocation between the tradable and non-tradable sectors.
For an empirically plausible parametrization of LBD externalities, the model predicts that in response to a 10
percent increase in commodity prices FX reserves should increase by 1.5 percent of GDP. We also find that the
welfare gains from optimally using FX reserves are twice as high as the gains from relying only on monetary
policy. These results suggest that FX intervention is a beneficial policy to counteract the loss of competitiveness
during a Dutch disease episode.
Aqib Aslam, Samya Beidas-Strom, Mr. Rudolfs Bems, Oya Celasun, and Zsoka Koczan
Commodity prices have declined sharply over the past three years, and output growth has
slowed considerably among countries that are net exporters of commodities. A critical
question for policy makers in these economies is whether commodity windfalls influence
potential output. Our analysis suggests that both actual and potential output move together
with commodity terms of trade, but that actual output comoves twice as strongly as
potential output. The weak commodity price outlook is estimated to subtract 1 to 2¼
percentage points from actual output growth annually on average during 2015-17. The
forecast drag on potential output is about one-third of that for actual output.
The global boom in hydrocarbon, metal and mineral prices since the year 2000 created huge
economic rents - rents which, once invested, were widely expected to promote productivity
growth in other parts of the booming economies, creating a lasting legacy of the boom years.
This paper asks whether this has happened. To properly address this question the empirical
strategy must look behind the veil of the booming sector because that, by definition, will
boom in a boom. So the paper considers new data on GDP per person outside of the resource
sector. Despite having vast sums to invest, GDP growth per-capita outside of the booming
sectors appears on average to have been no faster during the boom years than before. The
paper finds no country in which (non-resource) growth per-person has been statisticallysignificantly
higher during the boom years. In some Gulf states, oil rents have financed a
migration-facilitated economic expansion with small or negative productivity gains. Overall,
there is little evidence the booms have left behind the anticipated productivity transformation
in the domestic economies. It appears that current policies are, overall, prooving insufficient
to spur lasting development outside resource intensive sectors.
We examine the impact of resource windfall on the standard of living both in the short-run and long-run, using a sample of 130 countries, 1963-2007. Then, we systematically investigate the effect of resource windfall on welfare in three different groups of countries: We find that in the short-run resource windfall is welfare enhancing in the whole sample, especially via increases in income and decreases in inequality. However, in
SSA countries, the size of welfare improvement is small and it is smaller and almost zero
after one year in fragile Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. In the whole sample, a
resource windfall shock leads to significant welfare growth even in the long-run, but we
couldn’t find any significant long-run effect of resource windfall in SSA countries.
After skyrocketing over the past decade, commodity prices have remained stable or eased somewhat since mid-2011—and most projections suggest they are not likely to resume the upward trend observed in the last decade. This paper analyzes what this turn in the commodity price cycle may imply for output growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The analysis suggests that growth in the years ahead for the average commodity exporter in the region could be significantly lower than during the commodity boom, even if commodity prices were to remain stable at their current still-high levels. Slower-than-expected growth in China represents a key downside risk. The results caution against trying to offset the current economic slowdown with demand-side stimulus and underscore the need for ambitious structural reforms to secure strong growth over the medium term.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Enrique Flores
Algunos académicos han sostenido que la distribución directa a la población de ingresos públicos provenientes de recursos naturales ayudaría a los países ricos en recursos naturales a escapar de la “maldición de los recursos naturales”. Este documento analiza si esta propuesta constituye una alternativa política viable para países ricos en recursos naturales. La primera prioridad para los responsables de la formulación de políticas en los países ricos en materias primas consiste en establecer los objetivos de política fiscal para promover la estabilidad macroeconómica y el desarrollo de las economías. En este sentido, el establecimiento de un marco fiscal adecuado que aporte información para tomar decisiones sobre cuánto ahorrar y cuánto invertir, cómo atenuar la volatilidad de los ingresos públicos, y cómo abordar los problemas relacionados con el agotamiento de los recursos naturales debe preceder cualquier análisis sobre distribución directa de recursos a la población.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Enrique Flores
Some scholars have argued that direct distribution of natural resource revenues to the population would help resource-rich countries escape the “resource curse.” This discussion note analyzes whether this proposal is a viable policy alternative for resource-rich countries. The first priority for policymakers is to establish fiscal policy objectives to support macroeconomic stability and development objectives. In this regard, the establishment of an adequate fiscal framework that informs decisions on how much to save and invest, or how to smooth out revenue volatility, and deal with exhaustibility issues should precede any discussion of direct distribution of resource wealth to the population.
How has Latin America coped with external shocks and economic vulnerabilities in the aftermath of the global financial crisis? Managing Economic Volatility in Latin America looks at how the region has fared in recent years in an environment of uncertainty. It presents a collection of novel contributions on capital flows, terms of trade, and macroeconomic policy in Latin America. The rigorous expert analysis offers an up-to-date guide to many of the key economic policy questions in the region. Chapters focus on important analytical issues, including assessing reserves adequacy and current account levels. The roles of macroeconomic policies and exchange rates regimes in coping with large capital inflows are examined, as well as the effectiveness of both monetary policy and fiscal policy in dealing with economic challenges in the region.
This paper uses a newly constructed revenue dataset of 35 resource-rich countries for the period 1992-2009 to analyze the impact of expanding resource revenues on different types of domestic (non resource) tax revenues. Overall, we find a statistically significant negative relationship between resource revenues and total domestic (non resource) revenues, including for the major tax components. For each additional percentage point of GDP in resource revenues, there is a reduction in domestic (non resource) revenues of about 0.3 percentage points of GDP. We find this primarily occurs through reduced effort on taxes on goods and services—in particular, the VAT— followed by a smaller negative impact on corporate income and trade taxes.