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 reviews the uneven record of fiscal performance in the states of the former Soviet Union since independence. Deficits have come down rapidly, an important contribution to stabilization. Given, however, the unexpectedly severe revenue decline and limited financing, the stabilization was reached by sharp cuts in expenditure. The cuts were abrupt and not focused on transition goals, and the instruments used vitiated normal budgetary processes. Hence, benchmarks of fiscal success other than stabilization are elusive. Government intervention and subsidies remain important, social spending is inefficient, and there is little evidence in the budget of restructuring.