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Fiscal Transparency, Fiscal Performance and Credit Ratings

  • Julio Escolano
  • Elif Arbatli

This paper investigates the effect of fiscal transparency on market assessments of sovereign risk, as measured by credit ratings. It measures this effect through a direct channel (uncertainty reduction) and an indirect channel (better fiscal policies and outcomes), and it differentiates between advanced and developing economies. Fiscal transparency is measured by an index based on the IMF’s Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). We find that fiscal transparency has a positive and significant effect on ratings, but it works through different channels in advanced and developing economies. In advanced economies the indirect effect of transparency through better fiscal outcomes is more significant whereas for developing economies the direct uncertainty-reducing effect is more relevant. Our results suggest that a one standard deviation improvement in fiscal transparency index is associated with a significant increase in credit ratings: by 0.7 and 1 notches in advanced and developing economies respectively.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/156.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/156
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Ricardo Hausmann & Alberto Alesina & Rudolf Hommes & Ernesto H. Stein, 1998. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Murray Petrie, 2003. "Promoting Fiscal Transparency the Complementary Roles of the Imf, Financial Markets and Civil Society," IMF Working Papers 03/199, International Monetary Fund.
  3. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Fiscal Transparency and Economic Outcomes," IMF Working Papers 05/225, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Alt, James E. & Lassen, David Dreyer, 2006. "Fiscal transparency, political parties, and debt in OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1403-1439, August.
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