The cyclicality of monetary and fiscal policy in South Africa since 1994

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP12/2007
 
Publication date: 2007
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
[protected email address] (Bureau of Economic Research, Stellenbosch University)
Federico Sturzenegger (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)
 
Abstract:

This paper uses an SVAR approach to discuss the cyclicality of fiscal and monetary policy in South Africa since 1994. There is substantial South African literature on this topic, but much disagreement remains. Though not undisputed, there is growing consensus that monetary policy has contributed to the remarkable stabilisation of the South African economy over this period. The evaluation of the role of fiscal policy in stabilisation has been less favourable and there is little evidence that a countercyclical fiscal stance was a priority over this period. This paper considers these issues in an empirical framework that addresses some of the shortcomings in the literature. Specifically, it constructs a structural model in contrast with the reduced form models typically used in the South African literature, incorporates the dynamic interaction between monetary and fiscal shocks on the demand side and supply shocks on the other, and avoids controversy over ‘neutral’ base years and the size of fiscal elasticities. The model confirms the consensus on monetary policy, finding it to have been largely countercyclical since 1994. On fiscal policy, this paper finds evidence of pro-cyclicality, especially in the more recent period, though the policy simulations suggest that the pro-cyclicality of fiscal policy has had little destabilising impact on real output.

 
JEL Classification:

E320, E630

Keywords:

Stabilisation policy, Monetary policy, Inflation targeting, Fiscal policy, Pro-cyclical policy

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BER Weekly

22 February 2021
As is often the case, domestic financial markets largely ignored local developments, including a lower-than-expected January consumer inflation print, last week and were swept along by the intensification of the global reflation trade. Outside of the inflation release, the domestic data releases continued to show that there was still some recovery momentum...

Read the full issue