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An Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Adjustments


  • Robert F. Westcott
  • C. John McDermott


This study uses the fiscal expansion and consolidation experiences of the industrial countries over the period 1970 to 1995 to examine the interplay between fiscal adjustments and economic performance. A key finding is that fiscal consolidation need not trigger an economic slowdown. Fiscal consolidation that concentrates on the expenditure side, and especially on transfers and government wages, is more likely to succeed in reducing the public debt ratio than tax-based consolidation. Also, the greater the magnitude of the fiscal consolidation, the more likely it is to succeed in reducing the debt ratio.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert F. Westcott & C. John McDermott, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Fiscal Adjustments," IMF Working Papers 96/59, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:96/59

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anuradha Dayal-Gulati & Valerie Cerra, 1999. "China's Trade Flows; Changing Price Sensitivies and the Reform Process," IMF Working Papers 99/1, International Monetary Fund.
    2. David Burton & Wanda S Tseng & Kalpana Kochhar & Hoe Ee Khor & Dubravko Mihaljek, 1994. "Economic Reform in China; A New Phase," IMF Occasional Papers 114, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Rupa Duttagupta & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2004. "What Happened to Asian Exports During the Crisis?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(1), pages 1-4.
    4. Gautam Jaggi & Mary Rundle & Daniel H. Rosen & Yuichi Takahashi, 1996. "China's Economic Reforms: Chronology and Statistics," Working Paper Series WP96-5, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    5. Chihwa Kao & Min-Hsien Chiang, 1997. "On the Estimation and Inference of a Cointegrated Regression in Panel Data," Econometrics 9703001, EconWPA.
    6. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 1993. "A Simple Estimator of Cointegrating Vectors in Higher Order Integrated Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 783-820, July.
    7. Zhaoyong Zhang, 1996. "The Exchange Value of the Renminbi and China's Balance of Trade: An Emp irical Study," NBER Working Papers 5771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mingwei Yuan & Kalpana Kochhar, 1994. "China'S Imports; An Empirical Analysis Using Johansen'S Cointegration Approach," IMF Working Papers 94/145, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Michael W. Bell & Kalpana Kochhar & Hoe Ee Khor, 1993. "China at the Threshold of a Market Economy," IMF Occasional Papers 107, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item


    Debt; fiscal consolidation; expenditure cuts; expenditure; fiscal policy; public debt;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus


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