IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: A Synoptic View


  • Raghbendra Jha



This paper presents a broad overview of fiscal issues confronting developing countries. Three of these are (i) developing countries have low tax/GDP and expenditure/GDP ratios compared to developed countries, even though developing countries need more public expenditure; (ii) developing country fiscal stance is often pro-cyclical; (iii) developing country tax resources are more volatile than those of developed countries. I also consider the issue of budgetary deficits and problems arising therefrom in developing countries. I then discuss some widely accepted norms for tax and expenditure reforms as also some issues of intergovernmental transfers in federal developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Raghbendra Jha, 2007. "Fiscal Policy in Developing Countries: A Synoptic View," ASARC Working Papers 2007-01, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:asarcc:2007-01

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sami Bibi & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2007. "Poverty-decreasing indirect tax reforms: Evidence from Tunisia," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 165-190, April.
    2. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Ostry, Jonathan D., 2008. "International evidence on fiscal solvency: Is fiscal policy "responsible"?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1081-1093, September.
    3. John Piggott & John Whalley, 2001. "VAT Base Broadening, Self Supply, and the Informal Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1084-1094, September.
    4. Boadway, Robin & Roberts, Sandra & Shah, Anwar, 1994. "Fiscal federalism : dimensions of tax reform in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1385, The World Bank.
    5. J. Humberto Lopez & K. Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2000. "How Effective is Fiscal Policy in Raising National Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 226-238, May.
    6. Emran, M. Shahe & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2005. "On selective indirect tax reform in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 599-623, April.
    7. Sah, Raaj Kumar, 1983. "How much redistribution is possible through commodity taxes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 89-101, February.
    8. Easterly, William & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1993. "Fiscal Deficits and Macroeconomic Performance in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 8(2), pages 211-237, July.
    9. Michael Gavin & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Policy in Latin America," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
    11. Marco Terrones & Luis Catão, 2001. "Fiscal Deficits and Inflation; A New Look at the Emerging Market Evidence," IMF Working Papers 01/74, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Talvi, Ernesto & Vegh, Carlos A., 2005. "Tax base variability and procyclical fiscal policy in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 156-190, October.
    13. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
    14. Adam, Christopher S. & Bevan, David L., 2005. "Fiscal deficits and growth in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 571-597, April.
    15. Bird, Richard M. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers: International Lessons for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 899-912, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kalirajan, Kaliappa & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2012. "Fiscal Decentralization and Development Outcomes in India: An Exploratory Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1511-1521.
    2. Mthokozisi Mlilo & Umakrishnan Kollamparambi, 2016. "Fiscal policy, employment, and output in South Africa: An open economy analysis," Journal of Economic and Financial Studies (JEFS), LAR Center Press, vol. 4(3), pages 11-23, June.

    More about this item


    Fiscal Policy; tax; expenditure; fiscal transfers;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pas:asarcc:2007-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Raghbendra Jha). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.