Working Paper
Countercyclical Fiscal Policy

A Review of the Literature, Empirical Evidence and some Policy Proposals

For many emerging market economies, over reliance on monetary policy may bring worse macro results, when compared to a more balanced framework of countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy. The use of countercyclical fiscal policy requires as a precondition solvent and sustainable fiscal accounts and the re-engineering of fiscal institutions to increase the timeliness and flexibility of fiscal policy. A higher degree of tax or pension fund and/or unemployment insurance contribution flexibility may help in economies subject to significant external shocks. Automatic indexing rules to terms of trade or country risk spreads for pension contributions and interest payments on public debt may also contribute to the stabilization effort. If fiscal revenues are highly volatile, structural budget rules and commodity stabilization funds may provide the necessary framework to achieve saving (dissaving) during expansions (contractions).