Monitoring sub-central government spending in Spain
The evolution of Regional and Local governments’ spending in Spain is currently under close scrutiny by national and international investors and analysts, international organizations and rating agencies. Indeed, some 50% of general government spending and some 70% of public employment are managed by Regions and Municipalities, which consequently have to bear a great portion of the overall fiscal consolidation plan currently under way. Despite recent efforts of the Spanish government at increasing transparency, the significant shortages of the existing data render the task of monitoring regional and local governments’ public spending in real-time a complicated endeavor. Within this framework, we exploit all available short-term information on sub-national governments’ spending from scattered sources, and find a subset of indicators usable for real-time policy analysis. In particular: (i) we compile a dataset on quarterly and monthly regional government’s spending variables, by reviewing all available, scattered sources, and put together a database usable for economic and policy analysis; (ii) we exploit the compiled information, and other additional sources, by fitting time-series mixed-frequencies models to the data, and show the forecasting and monitoring capabilities of the selected short-term fiscal indicators; (iii) we show that official annual budgetary targets do present a reasonable forecasting performance when used as indicators of regional and local spending targets in national accounts terms, in particular when used in combination with time series indicators.
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