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Fiscal Policy in Oil‐exporting Countries: The Roles of Oil Funds and Institutional Quality

Review of Development Economics

Published online on


Oil‐exporting countries face challenges in the conduct of fiscal policy owing to volatile oil revenues, especially in countries with weak institutions. Many oil exporters have established oil funds to delink government expenditure from oil revenues; however, their effectiveness remains unresolved. This paper examines the roles of oil funds and institutional quality in reducing fiscal procyclicality and macroeconomic volatility in 42 oil‐exporting countries from 1960 to 2014 using panel vector autoregression techniques. The results show that oil funds are effective in reducing fiscal procyclicality in countries with high institutional quality. There is also a reduction in the procyclical bias in those with low institutional quality but the statistical evidence is weak. Nevertheless, oil funds are associated with reduced volatility of government consumption and the real exchange rate in countries with low institutional quality. These findings give credence to the macroeconomic stabilization role of oil funds but also reinforce the importance of good institutions.