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Comparative Fiscal Response Effects Of Debt Relief: An Application To African Hipcs

  • Danny Cassimon
  • Bjorn Van campenhout

As part of the efforts of the international donor community to scale up aid to Africa, substantial debt relief has been granted in recent years through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and its successor, the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. This paper tries to assess, for a sample of 24 African countries that have at least reached decision point status in the HIPC Initiative, to what extent this debt relief has created fiscal space in recipient country budgets, and what, on average, the actual fiscal response effects have been, relative to other types of aid. Inspired by the fiscal response literature, we model public finance behaviour as a system of structural equations and estimate the reduced form parameters in a Vector Autoregressive framework. In general, we are unable to find evidence that debt relief might provoke no or even perverse fiscal responses. On average, debt relief affects public finance behaviour in a desired way, with effects being most similar to those of its most direct substitute, programme grants. Copyright (c) 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2008 Economic Society of South Africa.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1813-6982.2008.00201.x
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Article provided by Economic Society of South Africa in its journal South African Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 76 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 427-442

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Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:76:y:2008:i:3:p:427-442
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1991. "Sovereign Debt Repurchases: No Cure for Overhang," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1219-35, November.
  2. berlage, Lodewijk & cassimon, Danny & dreze, Jacques & Reding, Paul, 2003. "Prospective Aid and Indebtedness Relief: A Proposal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1635-1654, October.
  3. Robert Osei & Oliver Morrissey & Tim Lloyd, 2005. "The fiscal effects of aid in Ghana," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(8), pages 1037-1053.
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  5. Pack, Howard & Pack, Janet Rothenberg, 1993. "Foreign Aid and the Question of Fungibility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 258-65, May.
  6. Cassimon, Danny & Van Campenhout, Bjorn, 2006. "Aid Effectiveness, Debt Relief and Public Finance Response: Evidence from a panel of HIPC Countries," IOB Working Papers 2006.02, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB).
  7. Paul R. Krugman, 1988. "Financing vs. Forgiving a Debt Overhang," NBER Working Papers 2486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark McGillivray & Oliver Morrissey, 2000. "Aid fungibility in Assessing Aid: red herring or true concern?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 413-428.
  9. Mark McGillivray & Bazoumana Ouattara, 2005. "Aid, Debt Burden and Government Fiscal Behaviour in Côte d'Ivoire," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(2), pages 247-269, June.
  10. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
  11. Heller, Peter S, 1975. "A Model of Public Fiscal Behavior in Developing Countries: Aid, Investment, and Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 429-45, June.
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