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.
This paper evaluates whether debt relief and grants can boost social expenditures in lowincome countries. It finds that declines in debt-service help raise social expenditures, but no relationship between grants and social expenditures. Moreover, since the mid-1980s, lowincome countries have managed to fully insulate social expenditures from the effects of budgetary tightening. The magnitude of the impact of these effects on social expenditures, however, is dwarfed by the resources needed to enable these countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals.