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Revenue Forecasts as Performance Targets

  • Stephan Danninger

Budget revenue forecasts should be best estimates of expected receipts. Often they are not. This paper analyzes the rationale for overstated revenue forecasts and derives conditions for intentional biases. A theoretical model demonstrates that overstated revenue forecasts can be the result of the government's attempt to boost unobserved revenue collection effort. If positive forecast errors are costly and undermine public credibility of budget expenditure plans, the reverse outcome is possible and governments may understate revenue forecasts. A case study for Azerbaijan is presented in support of the former incentive motive.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/14.

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Length: 20
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/14
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  2. Ian Lienert & Feridoun Sarraf, 2001. "Systemic Weaknesses of Budget Management in Anglophone Africa," IMF Working Papers 01/211, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Auerbach, Alan Jeffrey, 1999. "On the Performance and Use of Government Revenue Forecasts," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt8h845262, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  4. Bretschneider, Stuart I. & Gorr, Wilpen L. & Grizzle, Gloria & Klay, Earle, 1989. "Political and organizational influences on the accuracy of forecasting state government revenues," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 307-319.
  5. Cassidy, Glenn & Kamlet, Mark S. & Nagin, Daniel S., 1989. "An empirical examination of bias in revenue forecasts by state governments," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 321-331.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  7. Ehrbeck, Tilman & Waldmann, Robert, 1996. "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency versus Behavioral Explanations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 21-40, February.
  8. Tim Pike & David Savage, 1998. "Forecasting the public finances in the Treasury," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(1), pages 49-62, February.
  9. Mocan, H. Naci & Azad, Sam, 1995. "Accuracy and rationality of state General Fund Revenue forecasts: Evidence from panel data," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-427, September.
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