Lam Nguyen, Mika Saito, and Shirin Nikaein Towfighian
This paper explores the causes and consequences of fiscal dominance over monetary policy in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Fiscal dominance has always been a pressing problem as it can contribute to inflation and macroeconomic instability, and increasingly so as fiscal deficits and public debt are rising in many SSA countries. We find that legal limits and availability of alternative financing options play an important role in determining the extent to which government deficits tend to be financed by the central bank. We also find economically significant effects of central bank lending to government on the exchange rate and inflation.
Using a panel of 101 low- and middle-income countries with data covering the period 1980-2012, this paper applies various econometric approaches that deal with endogeneity issues to assess the impact of food price shocks on socio-political instability once fiscal policy and remittances have been accounted for. It focuses on import prices to reflect the vulnerability of importer countries / net-buyer households to food price shocks. The paper finds that import food price shocks strongly increase the likelihood of socio-political instability. This effect is greater in countries with lower levels of private credit and income per capita. On the other hand, while remittances seem to dampen the adverse effect of import food price shocks on socio-political instability in almost all countries, the mitigating role of fiscal policy is significant only in countries with low-levels of private credit.