The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The recent boom and bust in commodity prices has raised concerns about the impact of volatile commodity prices on Latin American countries' fiscal positions. Using a novel quarterly data set-which includes unique country-specific commodity price indices and a comprehensive measure of public expenditures-this paper analyzes the dynamic effects of commodity price fluctuations on fiscal revenues and expenditures for eight commodity-exporting Latin American countries. The results indicate that Latin American countries' fiscal positions react strongly to shocks to commodity prices, yet there are marked differences across countries. Fiscal variables in Venezuela display the highest sensitivity to commodity price shocks, with expenditures reacting significantly more than revenues. At the other end of the spectrum, in Chile expenditure reacts very little to commodity price fluctuations, and the dynamic responses of its fiscal indicators are very similar to those seen in high-income commodity-exporting countries. This distinct behavior across countries may relate to institutional arrangements, which in some cases include the efficient application of fiscal rules amid political commitment and high standards of transparency.