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Fiscal illusion, fiscal consolidation and government expenditure composition in the OECD: a dynamic panel data approach


  • Ismael Sanz
  • Francisco J. Velázquez


Following the present atmosphere of budgetary cuts in the OECD countries we analyze the effects of fiscal consolidation in the composition of government expenditures by functions. We modify a standard median voter demand model to incorporate a form of fiscal illusion based on the idea that voters-taxpayers may not be fully aware of the true composition of government expenditures because all types of expenditures are not equally visible. Then we exploit the panel structure of the dataset - 26 OECD countries over the period 1970-1997- by GMM estimation of a dynamic model taking into account unobserved country effects and possible endogeinity of the explanatory variables. Under the assumption that governments know the relative visibility of each type of expenditure, the pattern of the last three decades indicates that defense and the non-productive economic services are the less visible expenditures. On the other hand, education and housing seem to be the more visible expenditures.

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  • Ismael Sanz & Francisco J. Velázquez, 2003. "Fiscal illusion, fiscal consolidation and government expenditure composition in the OECD: a dynamic panel data approach," European Economy Group Working Papers 21, European Economy Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:eeg:euroeg:21

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    5. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
    6. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    7. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
    8. Paul Cashin & Catherine A Pattillo & Ratna Sahay & Paolo Mauro, 2001. "Macroeconomic Policies and Poverty Reduction; Stylized Facts and an Overview of Research," IMF Working Papers 01/135, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paulo Reis Mourao, 2008. "Towards a Puviani’s Fiscal Illusion Index," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 187(4), pages 49-86, December.
    2. Momi Dahan & Michel Strawczynski, 2010. "Fiscal Rules and Composition Bias in OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3088, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Sourafel Girma, 2005. "Absorptive Capacity and Productivity Spillovers from FDI: A Threshold Regression Analysis," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(3), pages 281-306, June.
    4. Jaime Turrion & Carmela Martin, 2003. "Eastern Enlargement of the European Union and Foreign Direct Investment Adjustments," European Economy Group Working Papers 24, European Economy Group.
    5. Mourão, Paulo, 2007. "Towards a Fiscal Illusion Index," MPRA Paper 9760, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 28 Jul 2008.

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