This paper uses the strategy and data of Blanchard and Perotti (BP) to identify fiscal shocks and estimate fiscal multipliers for the United States. With these results, it computes the cumulative multiplier of Ramey and Zubairy (2018), now common in the literature. It finds that, contrary to the peak and through multipliers reported by BP, the cumulative tax multiplier is much larger than the cumulative spending one. Hence, the conclusions depend on the definition of multiplier. This methodology is also used to estimate the effects of fiscal shocks on economic activity in eight Latin American countries. The results suggest that the fiscal multipliers vary significantly across countries, and in some cases multipliers are larger than previously estimated.
We shed new light on the determinants of growth by tackling the blunt and weak instrument problems in the empirical growth literature. As an instrument for each endogenous variable, we propose average values of the same variable in neighboring countries. This method has the advantage of producing variable-specific and time-varying—namely, “sharp”—and strong instruments. We find that export sophistication is the only robust determinant of growth among standard growth determinants such as human capital, trade, financial development, and institutions. Our results suggest that other growth determinants may be important to the extent they help improve export sophistication.
Ms. Kimberly Beaton, Aliona Cebotari, Xiaodan Ding, and Andras Komaromi
The paper applies a network analysis framework to analyze the regional and global integration of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries. We compare network-based measures of trade integration to conventional measures, decomposing integration along several dimensions to better understand the sources of trade connectivity and their impact on growth. The paper finds that LAC countries are relatively well integrated in terms of links to diversified markets, but the strength of those links is weak. Comparing trade integration to predictions from gravity models, we find many LAC countries have significant scope to improve connectivity and increase their roles in regional and world trade networks.
Ms. Concha Verdugo Yepes, Mr. Peter L. Pedroni, and Xingwei Hu
This paper studies the transmission of crime shocks to the economy in a sample of 32 Mexican states over the period from 1993 to 2012. The paper uses a panel structural VAR approach which accounts for the heterogeneity of the dynamic state level responses in GDP, FDI and international migration flows, and measures the transmission via the impulse response of homicide rates. The approach also allows the study of the pattern of economic responses among states. In particular, the percentage of GDP devoted to new construction and the perception of public security are characteristics that are shown to be associated with the sign and magnitude of the responses of economic variables to crime shocks.
We examine risk spreads charged on corporate bonds placed by emerging market borrowers on international exchanges. While global developments have an important effect on spreads, changes in firm-level default risk also matter significantly in a way consistent with theory and experience in mature markets. In contrast, except during periods of financial crisis, country factors play a limited role. These findings go against the supposition that limited information on emerging market firms or significant agency problems prevent firm-level credit discrimination by international investors. The firm-level information capitalization into spreads possibly reflects protection afforded by the exchange listing on international markets.
This paper explores the sources of inflation in Sub-Saharan Africa by examining the relationship between inflation, the output gap, and the real money gap. Using heterogeneous panel cointegration estimation techniques, we estimate cointegrating vectors for the production function and the real money demand function to recover the structural output and money gaps for seventeen African countries. The central finding is that both gaps contain significant information regarding the evolution of inflation, albeit with a larger role played by the money gap. There is no significant evidence of asymmetry in the relationship.
Mr. Allan Timmermann, Mr. Luis Catão, and Mr. Marco Aiolfi
This paper constructs new business cycle indices for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico based on common dynamic factors extracted from a comprehensive set of sectoral output, external data, and fiscal and financial variables spanning over a century. The constructed indices are used to derive a business cycle chronology for these countries and characterize a set of new stylized facts. In particular, we show that all four countries have historically displayed a striking combination of high business cycle and persistence relative to benchmark countries, and that such volatility has been time-varying, with important differences across policy regimes. We also uncover a sizeable common factor across the four economies which has greatly limited scope for regional risk sharing.
Mr. Enzo Croce, Mr. V. Hugo Juan-Ramon, and Mr. Feng Zhu
We study the performance of the four Western Hemisphere trading blocs during the period 1978-2001. For the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade integration outweighed trade diversion; for MERCOSUR, increased integration and trade diversion went hand in hand; for the Central American Common Market (CACM) and the Andean Community, the evidence points to trade diversion only. We also find that trade among neighboring countries has increased since the early 1990s. The estimations are based on a nonlinear gravity equation that incorporates the hypothesis that exports create externalities that affect trade costs. This hypothesis might help reconcile the theoretical unitary income elasticity with most empirical findings of a non-unitary income elasticity in studies using the gravity equation.
This paper extends my previous work by examining the relationship between monetary policy and exchange market pressure (EMP) in 32 emerging market countries. EMP is a gauge of the severity of crises, and part of this paper specifically analyzes crisis periods. Two variables gauge the stance of monetary policy: the growth of central bank domestic credit and the interest differential (domestic versus U.S. dollar). Evidence suggests that monetary policy plays an important role in currency crises. And, in most countries the shocks to monetary policy affect EMP in the direction predicted by traditional approaches: tighter money reduces EMP.
Models of “contagion” rely on market imperfections to explain why adverse shocks in one asset market might be associated with asset sales in many unrelated markets. This paper demonstrates that contagion can be explained with basic portfolio theory without recourse to market imperfections. It also demonstrates that “Value-at-Risk” portfolio management rules do not have significantly different consequences for portfolio rebalancing and contagion than other rules. The paper’s main conclusion is that portfolio diversification and leverage may be sufficient to explain why investors would find it optimal to sell many higher-risk assets when a shock to one asset occurs.