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

  • Cashin, P.
  • Haque, N.
  • Olekalns, N.

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 the periods 1956-95 and 1964-97, respectively. The empirical results indicate that Pakistan's fiscal behavior is consistent with tax smoothing, but Sri Lanka's is not. 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 behaviour indicates that for both countries the stock of public liabilities is unsustainable under unchanged fiscal policies.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 700.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:700
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au
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  1. Eric Zivot & Donald W.K. Andrews, 1990. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil Price Shock, and the Unit Root Hypothesis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 944, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Cashin, Paul & McDermott, C John, 1998. "Are Australia's Current Account Deficits Excessive?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 74(227), pages 346-61, December.
  3. Peter C.B. Phillips & Sam Ouliaris, 1987. "Asymptotic Properties of Residual Based Tests for Cointegration," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 847R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 1988.
  4. Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1986. "The U.S. evidence on optimal taxation over time," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 251-275, November.
  5. Hansen, Bruce E, 1992. "Tests for Parameter Instability in Regressions with I(1) Processes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(3), pages 321-35, July.
  6. Phillips, Peter C B & Hansen, Bruce E, 1990. "Statistical Inference in Instrumental Variables Regression with I(1) Processes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 99-125, January.
  7. Gregory, A.W. & Hansen, B.E., 1992. "Residual-Based Tests for Cointegration in Models with Regime Shifts," RCER Working Papers 335, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, March.
  9. Olekalns, Nilss, 1997. "Australian Evidence on Tax Smoothing and the Optimal Budget Surplus," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(222), pages 248-57, September.
  10. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1987. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1062-88, October.
  11. Crosby, M. & Olekalns, N., 1998. "Some Long Run Evidence on Tax Smoothing," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 609, The University of Melbourne.
  12. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Barro, Robert J., 1987. "Government spending, interest rates, prices, and budget deficits in the United Kingdom, 1701-1918," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 221-247, September.
  14. Cashin, P. & Olekalns, N. & Sahay, R., 1998. "Tax Smoothing in a Financially Repessed Economy: Evidence from India," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 656, The University of Melbourne.
  15. Giovannini, Alberto & de Melo, Martha, 1993. "Government Revenue from Financial Repression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 953-63, September.
  16. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1995. "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 1-31, March.
  17. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  18. Ghosh, Atish R, 1995. "Intertemporal Tax-Smoothing and the Government Budget Surplus: Canada and the United States," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(4), pages 1033-45, November.
  19. Barro, Robert J, 1986. " U.S. Deficits since World War I," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 195-22.
  20. Huang, Chao-Hsi & Lin, Kenneth S., 1993. "Deficits, government expenditures, and tax smoothing in the United States: 1929-1988," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 317-339, June.
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