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Stock-Flow Adjustments and Fiscal Transparency; A Cross-Country Comparison

  • Anke Weber

Over the past three decades, large and persistent discrepancies between the annual change in public debt and the budget deficit, so-called stock-flow adjustments, were a prominent feature of debt dynamics in many economies. The aim of this paper is to investigate the underlying determinants of such discrepancies and their relationship with fiscal transparency using data for 163 countries. Results show that such discrepancies can only be partly explained by balance sheet effects and the realization of contingent liabilities and that significant differences exist in average stock-flow adjustments across countries reflecting country-specific factors. The more fiscally transparent the country, the smaller these tend to be. The contribution of stock-flow adjustments to increases in debt is likewise smaller in countries with above average fiscal transparency. This may not be coincidental, as a lack of fiscal transparency may make it easier for governments to engage in deceptive fiscal stratagems.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/39.

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Length: 19
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/39
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  1. Dany Jaimovich & Ugo Panizza & Camil F.S. Campos, 2006. "The Unexplained Part of Public Debt," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6705, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "Fiscal Transparency and Economic Outcomes," IMF Working Papers 05/225, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Luc Laeven & Fabian Valencia, 2010. "Resolution of Banking Crises; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," IMF Working Papers 10/146, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Roel Beetsma & Massimo Giuliodori & Peter Wierts, 2009. "Planning to cheat: EU fiscal policy in real time," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 753-804, October.
  5. S M Ali Abbas & Nazim Belhocine & Asmaa El-Ganainy & Mark Horton, 2011. "Historical Patterns and Dynamics of Public Debt—Evidence From a New Database," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 59(4), pages 717-742, November.
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