The government spending multiplier in Latin American countries: Does the institutional environment matter?

Rafael Acevedo, Jose U. Mora, Andrew T. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Mora and Acevedo (2019) report that the government spending multipliers in Latin American countries are notably higher than what is typically reported for developed economies. Latin American countries have been inclined toward using procyclical fiscal policies. Those policies have been perceived as being effective at mitigating the effects of the 2008–2009 Great Recession. This study aims to estimate the government spending multiplier using Latin American panel data from 19 Latin American countries from 2000 to 2018. The estimates are conditional on the extent of openness, capital mobility and economic freedom. Based on the results, the latter is important: the less economically free a country, the larger its spending multiplier. Lower economic freedom in Latin American countries can help to account for their large spending multipliers. In particular, restrictions on international trade are positively associated with multipliers. This is the case even while controlling the trade share of GDP. Design/methodology/approach: The authors provide regression results that are conditional on the extent of openness, capital mobility and economic freedom. Findings: The less economically free a country, the larger its spending multiplier. Lower economic freedom in Latin American countries can help to account for their large spending multipliers. In particular, restrictions on international trade are positively associated with multipliers. This is the case even while controlling the trade share of GDP. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is first study to estimate the fiscal multiplier conditional on economic freedom levels. The authors provide correctly calculated multipliers conditional on different levels of economic freedom. The authors point the way to future studies considering the effectiveness of fiscal policy conditional on institutional/policy quality.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Economic Policy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Capital mobility
  • Economic freedom
  • Fiscal multiplier
  • Institutional arrangements
  • Institutions
  • Interaction models
  • Latin America
  • Macroeconomic policy
  • Openness
  • Political economy

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