The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
A number of emerging markets have experienced substantial real exchange rate appreciation in recent years, generating concerns about competitiveness and prompting policymakers to respond with a combination of mitigating policies. This paper shows that fiscal policy can play a role in alleviating these pressures. Using a sample of 28 emerging market economies over 1983-2011, we estimate a dynamic model of the real exchange rate and find that a permanent fiscal adjustment may reduce appreciation pressures over the long term. Furthermore, the composition of public spending matters, with reductions in current spending playing a key role. To illustrate the importance of these findings, the paper focuses on the case of Brazil. Our results suggest that maintaining fiscal discipline while increasing public investment in Brazil is likely to ease real appreciation pressures, highlighting the importance of tackling long-standing budget rigidities.