The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
To monitor fiscal sustainability, this paper proposes a recursive algorithm derived from the law of motion of the debt-to-GDP ratio, subject to a government reaction function that links convergence to the targeted debt ratio with primary fiscal surpluses. Based on quarterly estimates of this algorithm in the 1990s, 12 developed and developing countries are ranked according to their degree of sustainability. For a number of countries, the paper finds evidence of causality between the fiscal policy stance and growth-adjusted real interest rates.