IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sza/wpaper/wpapers201.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Enhancing the credibility of fiscal forecasts in South Africa: Is a fiscal council the only way?

Author

Listed:
  • Estian Calitz

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Krige Siebrits

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Ian Stuart

    () (Treasury, Government of South Africa)

Abstract

The paper investigates whether fiscal credibility in South Africa (SA) would be enhanced by following the international trend of establishing a fiscal council. Given that fiscal councils and numerical fiscal rules are increasingly seen as complementary aspects of fiscal policymaking frameworks, we survey evidence on fiscal councils, with reference to empirical studies and country experience – Chile in particular. Whilst earlier studies generated inconclusive results of earlier attempts about the link between fiscal councils and good fiscal performance, more recent studies found that the involvement of fiscal councils has contributed to more accurate macroeconomic and budgetary forecasts. In the light of this evidence – in particular, the increasingly recognised need for flexibility in fiscal rules, respect for the country’s political environment in considering the appropriateness of fiscal councils and the importance of transparency in any fiscal regime – we discuss lessons for SA, and the mechanics of our proposal. SA’s fiscal performance and regime are assessed, with reference to the literature’s finding of historical fiscal sustainability and macro fiscal forecasting accuracy and various measures characterising the current transparency-enhancing regime of fiscal discretion. It is recognised that SA does not have numerical fiscal rules and that the National Treasury has not been outperformed by nongovernment economists in forecasting key variables used in drafting the annual budget. Projections nevertheless become increasingly inaccurate over three-year periods. On average, budget deficit forecasting errors have during the previous decade been lower than in European Union countries. The case for a fiscal council on the basis of better short-term forecasting accuracy alone is not strong. Instead of a fiscal council, an institutional innovation is proposed, namely structured bi-annual discussions of government’s macroeconomic budget forecasts in public parliamentary hearings, integrated into the budget process. This avoids drainage of scarce resources from Treasury and political pitfalls encountered elsewhere and might strengthen credibility of medium-term projections.

Suggested Citation

  • Estian Calitz & Krige Siebrits & Ian Stuart, 2013. "Enhancing the credibility of fiscal forecasts in South Africa: Is a fiscal council the only way?," Working Papers 25/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers201
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp252013/wp-25-2013.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, February.
    2. Estian Calitz & Krige Siebrits & Ian Stuart, 2013. "The accuracy of fiscal projections in South Africa," Working Papers 24/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. Charl Jooste & Alfredo Cuevas & Ian C. Stuart & Philippe Burger, 2011. "Fiscal sustainability and the fiscal reaction function for South Africa," IMF Working Papers 11/69, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Robert Hagemann, 2011. "How Can Fiscal Councils Strengthen Fiscal Performance?," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(1), pages 1-24.
    5. Stan du Plessis & Willem Boshoff, 2007. "A fiscal rule to produce counter-cyclical fiscal policy in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Ray, Nikhil. & Velasquez, Agustin. & Islam, Iyanatul., 2015. "Fiscal rules, growth and employment : a developing country perspective," ILO Working Papers 994881313402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. repec:ilo:ilowps:488131 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal rules; fiscal policy; fiscal council; fiscal transparency; fiscal forecasts;

    JEL classification:

    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:sza:wpaper:wpapers201. 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: (Melt van Schoor). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/desunza.html .

    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.