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Reforming public expenditure in industrialised countries: are there trade-offs?

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  • Schuknecht, Ludger
  • Tanzi, Vito

Abstract

In this paper, we show that, contrary to common beliefs, over the past two decades several countries were able to reduce public spending by remarkable amounts. These countries did not seem to have suffered from these large reductions either in a macroeconomic sense, or in terms of lower values for socio-economic indicators. On the contrary, ambitious expenditure reform coincides with improvements in fiscal, economic, human development and institutional indicators. Positive developments associated with expenditure reform, in some instances, have taken a while to materialize and early and persistent reformers have, hence, already seen more of them. Unfavourable effects on income distribution within countries are small and they are mitigated in absolute terms by faster growth in the medium run and by the possibilities of better targeting of public spending. Moreover, there is significant divergence across countries that suggests that country circumstances and reform design matter. JEL Classification: H5, H6, O57

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0435.

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Date of creation: Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20050435

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Keywords: Economic Growth; expenditure reform; public expenditure; socio economic indicators;

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References

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  1. Afonso, António & Schuknecht, Ludger & Tanzi, Vito, 2003. "Public sector efficiency: an international comparison," Working Paper Series 0242, European Central Bank.
  2. Afonso, António & Ebert, Werner & Schuknecht, Ludger & Thöne, Michael, 2005. "Quality of public finances and growth," Working Paper Series 0438, European Central Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Franco, Daniele, 2005. "The Stability Pact Pains: A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate," CEPR Discussion Papers 5216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Buti, Marco & Röger, Werner & Turrini, Alessandro Antonio, 2007. "Is Lisbon far from Maastricht? Trade-offs and Complementarities between Fiscal Discipline and Structural Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 6204, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Antonio Afonso & Ludger Schuknecht & Vito Tanzi, 2010. "Public sector efficiency: evidence for new EU member states and emerging markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(17), pages 2147-2164.
  4. Vito Tanzi, 2005. "Fiscal policy and fiscal rules in the European Union," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(3), pages 57-64, October.
  5. Aleš Melecký & Martin Melecký, 2012. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Shocks on the Government Debt Dynamics: How Robust is the Fiscal Stance of the Czech Republic?," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(6), pages 723-742.
  6. Athanasios Tagkalakis, 2009. "Fiscal adjustments: do labor and product market institutions matter?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 389-411, June.
  7. Vito Tanzi, 2005. "Fiscal Policy and Fiscal Rules in the European Union," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0301, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  8. Catriona Purfield, 2005. "Managing Revenue Volatility in a Small Island Economy," IMF Working Papers 05/154, International Monetary Fund.

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