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Fiscal Regime Changes and the Sustainability of Fiscal Imbalance in South Africa: A Smooth Transition Error-Correction Approach


  • Samuel S Jibao

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Niek Schoeman

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Ruthira Naraidoo

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)


In addition to the conventional linear cointegration test, this paper tests the asymmetry relationship between revenue and expenditure i.e. making a distinction between the adjustment of positive (budget surplus) and negative (budget deficit) deviations from equilibrium using quarterly data on South Africa. The paper reveals that government authorities in South Africa are more likely to react faster when the budget is in deficit than when in surplus and that the stabilisation measures by government are fairly neutral at low deficit levels, that is, at quarterly deficit levels of 4% of GDP and below. We conclude that the attempt to achieve fiscal sustainability via a reduction in expenditure on sectors conducive to economic growth might be prone to social and politically shocks which could render such fiscal policy unsustainable. In South Africa the main fiscal challenge, therefore, is to find ways through which the recent gains in fiscal solvency can be consolidated. The increasing tension amongst local communities complaining about poor service delivery by the government could be a recipe for fiscal unsustainability.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel S Jibao & Niek Schoeman & Ruthira Naraidoo, 2010. "Fiscal Regime Changes and the Sustainability of Fiscal Imbalance in South Africa: A Smooth Transition Error-Correction Approach," Working Papers 201023, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pre:wpaper:201023

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruthira Naraidoo & Leroi Raputsoane, 2013. "Debt sustainability and financial crises in South Africa," Working Papers 201352, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    2. Phiri, Andrew, 2016. "Asymmetries in the revenue-expenditure nexus: New evidence from South Africa," MPRA Paper 75224, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Smooth transition error correction model; Nonlinearity; Government intertemporal budget constraint; Fiscal sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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