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Lessons from the Monetary and Fiscal History of Latin America

Carlos Esquivel, Timothy Kehoe () and Juan Pablo Nicolini ()

No 608, Staff Report from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Abstract: Studying the modern economic histories of eleven of the largest countries in Latin America teaches us that a lack of fiscal discipline has been at the root of most of the region's macroeconomic instability. The lack of fiscal discipline, however, takes various forms, not all of them measured in the primary deficit. Especially important have been implicit or explicit guarantees to the banking system; denomination of the debt in US dollars and short maturity of the debt; and transfers to some agents in the private sector, which are large in times of crisis and are not part of the budget approved by the national congresses. Comparing the histories of our eleven countries, we see that rather than leading to an economic contraction, fiscal stabilization generally leads to growth. On the other hand, rising commodity prices are no guarantee of economic growth, nor are falling commodity prices a guarantee of economic contraction.

Keywords: Monetary policy; Fiscal policy; Debt crisis; Banking crisis; Off-budget transfers (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E52 E63 H63 N16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 41
Date: 2020-07-27
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-mac
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:fip:fedmsr:88446

DOI: 10.21034/sr.608

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