Fiscal Space and Government-Spending & Tax-Rate Cyclicality Patterns: A Cross-Country Comparison, 1960-2016
95 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 2018
This paper compares fiscal cyclicality across advanced and developing countries, geographic regions as well as income levels over 1960–2016 period, then identifies factors that explain countries’ government spending and tax-policy cyclicality. Public debt/tax base ratio provides a more robust explanation for government-spending cyclicality than public debt/output ratio but the reverse is true when capital investment is accounted for in government spending. On average, a more indebted (relative to tax base) government spends more in good times and cuts back spending indifferently compared with a low-debt country in bad times. We also find that country’s sovereign wealth fund has a countercyclical effect in our estimation. Finally, the analysis depicts a significant economic impact of an enduring interest-rate rise on fiscal space, that is, a 10% increase of public debt/tax base ratio is associated with an upper bound of 5.9% increase in government-spending procyclicality.
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