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Fiscal Flows, Fiscal Balance, and Fiscal Sustainability

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Author Info

  • Richard M. Bird

    (Director of the International Tax Program, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)

Abstract

The search for “fiscal indicators” to provide a short-hand (and preferably quantitative) picture of the size, direction, and nature of intergovernmental finance – and, ideally, some guidance for policy designed to improve outcomes – appears to be neverending. “Fiscal balance” and “fiscal sustainability” are, for example, terms commonly heard in discussions of intergovernmental fiscal relations. These concepts sound like good things, and often policies are suggested that are intended to achieve them. “Fiscal flows” are perhaps less prominent in policy discussions, but this notion too is often very much in the minds of some of those engaged in such discussions. Indeed, in practice much of the discussion of both fiscal balance and fiscal sustainability often reduces to assertions about the present and projected future course of fiscal flows. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the uses and limits of these three approaches to measuring and interpreting the problems and progress of fiscal decentralization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0302.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0302

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Fax: 404-413-0244
Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html

Related research

Keywords: Fiscal Flows; Fiscal Balance; Fiscal Sustainability;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Inman, Robert P, 1995. "How to Have a Fiscal Crisis: Lessons from Philadelphia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 378-83, May.
  2. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge, 1982. "Fiscal Incidence at the Local Level," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1207-18, September.
  3. Stavins, Robert N. & Wagner, Alexander F. & Wagner, Gernot, 2003. "Interpreting sustainability in economic terms: dynamic efficiency plus intergenerational equity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 339-343, June.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Working Papers 5556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
  6. M G Rao & A Das-Gupta, 1995. "Intergovernmental transfers and poverty alleviation," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 13(1), pages 1-23, February.
  7. Richard A. Musgrave, 1961. "Approaches to a Fiscal Theory of Political Federalism," NBER Chapters, in: Public Finances: Needs, Sources, and Utilization, pages 97-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard M. Bird & Francois Vaillancourt, 2005. "Changing with the Times: Success, Failure and Inertia in Canadian Federal Arrangements, 1945-2002," International Tax Program Papers 0504, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  9. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June.
  10. Bird, Richard M., 1989. "Taxation in Papua New Guinea: Backwards to the future?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(8), pages 1145-1157, August.
  11. Murray Petrie & Richard Hemming, 2000. "A Framework for Assessing Fiscal Vulnerability," IMF Working Papers 00/52, International Monetary Fund.
  12. Walter Hettich & Stanley L. Winer, 1986. "Vertical Imbalance in the Fiscal Systems of Federal States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 745-65, November.
  13. Richard Bird & Andrey Tarasov, 2002. "Closing the Gap: Fiscal Imbalaces and Intergovernmental Transfers in Developed Federations," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0202, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  14. Roy Bahl, 1999. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in Leningrad Region," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9902, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  15. Campos, Ed & Pradhan, Sanjay, 1996. "Budgetary institutions and expenditure outcomes : binding governments to fiscal performance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1646, The World Bank.
  16. Nigel Andrew Chalk, 2002. "Structural Balances and All That," IMF Working Papers 02/101, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Jocelyn Horne, 1991. "Indicators of Fiscal Sustainability," IMF Working Papers 91/5, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Richard M. Bird & Thomas A. Wilson, 2003. "A Tax Strategy for Ontario," International Tax Program Papers 0407, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Apr 2004.
  2. Richard M. Bird & Francois Vaillancourt, 2001. "Reconciling Diversity with Equality: The Role of Intergovernmental Fiscal Arrangements in Maintaining an Effective State in Canada," International Tax Program Papers 0406, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Apr 2004.
  3. Richard Bird, 2001. "Fiscal Federalism in Russia: A Canadian Perspective," International Tax Program Papers 0409, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, revised Dec 2003.
  4. Richard M. Bird & Enid Slack, 2004. "Fiscal Aspects of Metropolitan Governance," International Tax Program Papers 0401, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  5. Francois Vaillancourt & Richard M. Bird, 2005. "The Interregional Incidence of Public Budgets in Federations: Measurement Issues, Evidence from Canada, and Policy Relevance," International Tax Program Papers 0510, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

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