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Spend Now, Pay Later? Tax Smoothing and Fiscal Sustainability in South Asia

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Abstract

This paper tests a version of Barro’s tax-smoothing model, which assumes intertemporal optimization by a government seeking to minimize the distortionary costs of taxation, using Pakistan and Sri Lankan data for 1956-95 and 1964-97, respectively. The empirical results indicate that Pakistan’s fiscal behavior is consistent with tax smoothing, but not Sri Lanka’s. Moreover, fiscal behavior in both countries was dominated by a stagnation of revenues, large tax-tilting-induced deficits, and the consequent accumulation of excessive public liabilities. Analysis of the time-series characteristics of tax-tilting behavior indicates that for both countries the stock of public liabilities is unsustainable under unchanged fiscal policies.

Suggested Citation

  • International Monetary Fund, 1999. "Spend Now, Pay Later? Tax Smoothing and Fiscal Sustainability in South Asia," IMF Working Papers 99/63, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:99/63
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerhard Reitschuler, 2011. "Optimal taxation and budget deficits: Evidence for the EU's New Member States," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(3), pages 2593-2602.
    2. Taner Turan & Mesut Karakas & Halit Yanikkaya, 2014. "Tax Smoothing Hypothesis: A Turkish Case," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(4), pages 487-501, September.
    3. Angyridis, Constantine, 2009. "Balanced budget vs. Tax smoothing in a small open economy: A welfare comparison," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 438-463, September.
    4. Johan Adler, 2006. "The Tax-smoothing Hypothesis: Evidence from Sweden, 1952-1999," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 81-95, March.
    5. repec:ecr:col070:42015 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Adler, Johan, 2003. "Has Sweden’s government budget policy been too discretionary? Evidence from a generalization of the tax smoothing hypothesis," Working Papers in Economics 89, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    7. Obeng, Samuel, 2015. "A Causality Test of the Revenue-Expenditure Nexus in Ghana," MPRA Paper 63735, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Feb 2015.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy; Sri Lanka; Pakistan; Tax smoothing; tax tilting; fiscal sustainability; budget surplus; equation; fiscal deficits; government spending;

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