DP16511 Expansionary Austerity: Reallocating Credit Amid Fiscal Consolidation

Author(s): Bernardo Morais, Javier Perez-Estrada, José Luis Peydró, Claudia Ruiz-Ortega
Publication Date: September 2021
Date Revised: September 2021
Keyword(s): banks, credit, Crowding out, poverty, Subnational Government Debt
JEL(s): D72, E62, G21, L33, P16
Programme Areas: Public Economics, Financial Economics, Development Economics, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16511

We show expansionary fiscal austerity via reallocation of credit supply, but with a raise in poverty. For identification, we exploit the introduction of a Mexican law limiting the debt of subnational governments along with matched credit register, firm, bank, and state datasets. After the law, states with higher ex ante public debt grow substantially faster, despite larger fiscal consolidation (higher taxes and lower public expenditure). Banks operating in more indebted states reallocate credit supply away from local governments into private firms, with stronger effects for banks with higher exposure to local public debt, consistent with lowering crowding out. Effects only happen after the law, not before, and there are strong firm-level real effects associated. The reduction of crowding out is stronger for financially constrained firms and for firms operating in states with higher ex ante public spending on social services over infrastructure projects. In states more affected by the law, despite better economic effects, extreme poverty increases--especially in states with higher ex ante public spending on social services over infrastructure--consistent with a strong reduction for social services during the fiscal consolidation.