El resultado fiscal estructural como herramienta de estabilizaciónlos casos de América Latina y España en los años previos a la crisis "subprime"

  1. Zack, Guido
Supervised by:
  1. Daniel Sotelsek Salem Director
  2. José Luis Machinea Co-director
  3. Eva Senra Díaz Co-director

Defence university: Universidad de Alcalá

Fecha de defensa: 21 October 2013

  1. Diego Azqueta Oyarzun Chair
  2. Isabel Encabo Rodríguez Secretary
  3. Carlos D. Heymann Committee member
  4. Pilar Poncela Blanco Committee member
  1. Economía

Type: Thesis


The subprime international economic crisis interrupted one of the greater macroeconomic stability periods in developed countries. Indeed, for the first time in a long period of time, a crisis impacted more acutely in the developed economies, than in the developing world. To give an example of this differential effect, this research analyzes the macroeconomic development in Spain and Latin America. A comparison of these cases is of great interest; because both regions entered into recession after a long period of high growth and solid fiscal accounts, but with a very different outcome. While Latin America quickly resumed the growth path and the fiscal consolidation, Spain in 2013 is still in recession and has not yet managed to ensure the sustainability of its fiscal policy. It is striking that the cyclically adjusted fiscal indicators have not been able to anticipate the significant deterioration in the Spanish accounts. That is why the calculation methodology was analyzed in detail, identifying that it has several limitations to show the real long-term fiscal situation of the countries. In particular, a major limitation is the lack of consideration of the assets revaluation in the estimation. An alternative calculation of the structural budget balance for Latin America and Spain was made, including most relevant asset prices of each economy (financial assets, real estate, commodities, etc.). The objective of this indicator is twofold: First, to know the structural fiscal position of the two regions at the beginning of the crisis; and second, to get a proxy for discretionary fiscal policy, in order to analyze their cyclical behavior and its effect on volatility. In the calculation of the Spanish structural budget balance, nominal dwelling investment is taken as an independent variable, which includes the effect on the fiscal accounts of real estate prices and also the units built. In this case, the structural budget balance markedly differs from the observed and the cyclically adjusted budget balance, estimated by the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, reaching different conclusions about the cyclicality and the sustainability of the policy. Indeed, while the observed and cyclically adjusted budget balance showed a consolidation process until 2007, reaching an overall surplus in the last three years of the period, our estimation of the structural budget balance shows a decline since 1999, which in 2004 already became a deficit of 4% of potential GDP. In the case of Latin America, the variable that must be included in the estimation of the structural budget balance is undoubtedly the price of the main commodities of each country. To consider the effects of different kind of commodities in the fiscal accounts, the estimation is made for Argentina (agricultural products), Chile (mining), Mexico and Venezuela (energy). The results are different among countries. Chile has shown the most countercyclical behavior, Venezuela has not modified the traditional procyclical practices, and Mexico and Argentina have seemed to be in a mid-position. However, in none of the cases the structural fiscal accounts have differed significantly from the observed values, which would be a consequence of the existence of fundamentals explaining the historically high commodities prices. To avoid a situation of financial instability as the experienced today in countries such as Spain, in the last part of this research, it is proposed the application of fiscal rules based on the previously developed structural budget balance. This kind of rules would help to ensure fiscal solvency and also to allow full operation of automatic stabilizers, so stability would not be neglected. To enhance even more the stabilization capacity, it is proposed that the target of the rule fluctuates with the cycle, allowing structural deficit in recession to be compensated by surpluses during growth periods. If Spain had acted in accordance with this type of rule, the country would have initiated the crisis with a structural solvency position, which not only would have reduced the real estate prices and the units built in the previous years, but also would have enabled a more intense countercyclical reaction once the bubble burst.