Carlos A. Vegh, Ph.D.

Fred H. Sanderson Professor of International Economics
International Economics

Background and Education

Here goes bio

  1. 2014

    Reserve requirement policy over the business cycle

    (with Pablo Federico and Guillermo Vuletin)

    Based on a novel quarterly dataset for 52 countries for the period 1970-2011, we analyze the use and cyclical properties of reserve requirements (RR) as a macroeconomic stabilization tool and whether RR policy substitutes or complements monetary policy. We find that (i) around two thirds of developing countries have used RR policy as a macroeconomic stabilization tool compared to just one third of industrial countries (and no industrial country since 2004); (ii) most developing countries that rely on RR use them countercyclically; and (iii) in many developing countries, monetary policy is procyclical and hence RR policy has substituted monetary policy as a countercyclical tool. We interpret the latter finding as reflecting the need of many emerging markets to raise interest rates in bad times to defend the currency and not raise or lower the interest rate in good times to prevent further currency appreciation. Under these circumstances, RR policy provides a second instrument that substitutes for monetary policy. Evidence from expanded Taylor rules (i.e., Taylor rules that include a nominal exchange rate target) supports these mechanisms.

  2. 2014

    Procyclical and countercyclical fiscal multipliers:  Evidence from OECD ountries

    (with Daniel Riera-Crichton and Guillermo Vuletin)

    Using non-linear methods, we argue that existing estimates of government spending multipliers in expansion and recession may yield biased results by ignoring whether government spending is increasing or decreasing. In the case of OECD countries, the problem originates in the fact that, contrary to one's priors, it is not always the case that government spending is going up in recessions (i.e., acting countercyclically). In almost as many cases, government spending is actually going down (i.e., acting procyclically). Since the economy does not respond symmetrically to government spending increases or decreases, the "true" long-run multiplier for bad times (and government spending going up) turns out to be 2.3 compared to 1.3 if we just distinguish between recession and expansion. In extreme recessions, the long-run multiplier reaches 3.1.

  3. 2014

    Social implications of fiscal policy responses during crises

    (with Guillermo Vuletin)

    This paper studies the social implications of fiscal policy responses to crises in Latin America over the last 40 years and in the Eurozone during the aftermath of the global financial crisis. We focus on the behavior of four social indicators: the poverty rate, income inequality, unemployment rate, and domestic conflict. We find a causal link from counteryclical (procyclical) fiscal policy responses to reductions (increases) in all four social indicators. These results call into question recent claims on "expansionary fiscal austerity."