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Moya Chin
Electoral rules determine how voters' preferences are aggregated and translated into political representation, and their design can lead to the election of representatives who represent broader or narrower constituencies. Relying on a regression discontinuity design, I contrast single- and two-round elections in Brazilian municipal races. Two-round elections use two rounds of voting to elect a winner, ensuring that the eventual winner obtains at least 50% of the vote. Theoretically, this can provide incentives for candidates to secure a broader base of support. Consistent with this, I show that in two-round elections, candidates represent a more geographically diverse group of voters, public schools have more resources, and there is less variation in resources across public schools. Effects appear to be driven by strategic responses of candidates, rather than differential entry into races. These results suggest that two-round elections can lead candidates to secure broader bases of support and to distribute public goods more broadly.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov, Mr. Luca A Ricci, Alejandro M. Werner, and Rene Zamarripa
Do governments in Latin America tend to be optimistic when preparing budgetary projections? We address this question by constructing a novel dataset of the authorities’ fiscal forecasts in six Latin American economies using data from annual budget documents over the period 2000-2018. In turn, we compare such forecasts with the outturns reported in the corresponding budget documents of the following years to understand the evolution of fiscal forecast errors. Our findings suggest that: (i) for most countries, there is no general optimistic bias in the forecasts for the fiscal balance-to-GDP ratio (though there may be for the components); (ii) fiscal forecasts have improved for some countries over time, albeit they have worsened for others; (iii) in terms of drivers, we show that forecast errors for the fiscal balance-to-GDP ratio are positively correlated with GDP growth and terms of trade changes and negatively with GDP deflator surprises; (iv) forecast errors for public debt-to-GDP ratios are negatively associated with surprises to GDP growth; (v) lastly, budget balance rules seem to help contain the size of the fiscal forecast errors.
Patrick Blagrave and Mr. Fabien Gonguet
Current fiscal transparency and reporting practices in India place it behind most peer G20 economies, implying that policy makers are lacking critical data to ground their fiscal and other economic planning decisions. The increasing use of off-budget financing at the central government level in recent years represents one key example of reduced transparency—we provide estimates of the public sector borrowing requirement and an extended notion of the fiscal deficit, each of which shows a more expansionary stance in recent years than ‘headline’ deficit figures presented in budget documents. We then investigate the current state of fiscal reporting practices in India and suggest areas for reforms—these include enhanced IT systems, stronger central-local coordination, and a gradual transition to accrual accounting.
Luc Eyraud, Andrew Hodge, Mr. John Ralyea, and Julien Reynaud
This note discusses how to design subnational fiscal rules, including how to select them and calibrate them. It expands on the guidance provided at the national level on rule selection and calibration in IMF (2018a) and IMF (2018b). Thinking on subnational fiscal rules is still evolving, including their effectiveness (for example, Heinemann, Moessinger, and Yeter 2018; Kotia and Lledó 2016; Foremny 2014), and this note only provides a first analysis based on international experiences and the technical assistance provided by the IMF. Main findings are summarized in Box 1. The note is divided into five sections. The first section defines fiscal rules. The second section discusses the rationale for subnational rules. The third section provides some guidance on how to select the appropriate rule(s) and whether they should differ across individual jurisdictions. The fourth section explores the issue of flexibility by looking at how rules should adjust to shocks. Finally, the last section focuses on the “calibration” of the rules.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines the profitability of the foreign exchange (FX) swaps issued the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) between May 2013 and February 2019 to shed light on the rationale for FX intervention. Using interest rate and exchange rate forecasts, the paper shows that that FX swaps have been profitable in expectation, even though actual returns were negative due to unexpected exchange rate depreciations. Moreover, the scale of FX intervention is correlated with the expected profitability of the swaps, further suggesting that the BCB used FX intervention to stem abnormal movements of the exchange rate. Despite being profitable in expectation, swaps incurred realized losses due to unexpected exchange rate depreciations. The analysis suggests that the BCB used FX intervention to lean against temporary excessive movements of the exchange rate. The expected profitability of FX swaps can be monitored in real time and may thus provide guidance on the appropriate level of intervention.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America with a varied geography and a population of over 200 million spread across 26 diverse states, generating wide-ranging infrastructure needs. Over the decades, many government investment initiatives have been launched to address these needs, however there remains a significant infrastructure gap in Brazil which continues to hamper growth potential. Over the past two decades, public investment has been considerably below the regional and income group averages and this has translated into much lower capital stock. Public investment averaged around 2 percent of GDP during the period 1995 to 2015, compared with 6.4 percent for Emerging Market Economies (EME) and 5.5 percent for Latin American Countries (LAC). As a result, public capital stock in 2015 was only 35 percent of GDP compared with an average of 92 for EME and 87 for LAC.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America with a varied geography and a population of over 200 million spread across 26 diverse states, generating wide-ranging infrastructure needs. Over the decades, many government investment initiatives have been launched to address these needs, however there remains a significant infrastructure gap in Brazil which continues to hamper growth potential. Over the past two decades, public investment has been considerably below the regional and income group averages and this has translated into much lower capital stock. Public investment averaged around 2 percent of GDP during the period 1995 to 2015, compared with 6.4 percent for Emerging Market Economies (EME) and 5.5 percent for Latin American Countries (LAC). As a result, public capital stock in 2015 was only 35 percent of GDP compared with an average of 92 for EME and 87 for LAC.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Fund continues to make efforts to maximize the use of available resources in order to deliver on the priorities and initiatives laid out in the Global Policy Agenda (GPA). The FY 18 outturn reflects reallocations and efficiency gains, as well as flexibility provided by carry forward resources. With the number of Fund arrangements falling, the Fund’s outputs shifted from spending on lending activity to multilateral surveillance. On the input side, the structural budget was fully utilized. This paper presents key highlights of the FY 18 outturn, including a discussion of the outputs and inputs. Details on Capacity Development (CD) are presented in Annex
Luc Eyraud, Mr. Xavier Debrun, Andrew Hodge, Victor Duarte Lledo, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
Fiscal rule frameworks have evolved significantly in response to the global financial crisis. Many countries have reformed their fiscal rules or introduced new ones with a view to enhancing the credibility of fiscal policy and providing a medium-term anchor. Enforcement and monitoring mechanisms have also been upgraded. However, these innovations have made the systems of rules more complicated to operate, while compliance has not improved. The SDN takes stock of past experiences, reviews recent reforms, and presents new research on the effectiveness of rules. It also proposes guiding principles for future reforms to strike a better balance between simplicity, flexibility, and enforceability. Read the blog