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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Pedro Oviedo

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October 2006Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Developing Countries: The Tale of the Tormented Insurer
with Enrique G. Mendoza: w12586
Governments in emerging markets often behave like a "tormented insurer," trying to use non-state-contingent debt instruments to avoid cuts in payments to private agents despite large fluctuations in public revenues. In the data, average public debt-GDP ratios decline as the variability of revenues increases, primary balances and current expenditures follow cyclical patterns sharply at odds with the countercyclical patterns of industrial countries, and the cyclical variability of public expenditures exceeds that of private expenditures by a wide margin. This paper proposes a model of a small open economy with incomplete markets that can rationalize this behavior. In the model a fiscal authority makes optimal expenditure and debt plans given shocks to output and revenues, and private agents ...

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