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.
Do fiscal rules likely lead to fiscal adjustment, or do they encourage the use of ‘creative accounting’? This question is studied with a model in which fiscal rules are imposed on ‘measured’ fiscal variables, which can differ from ‘true’ variables because there is a margin for creative accounting. The probability of detecting creative accounting depends on its size and the transparency of the budget. The model studies the effects on fiscal policy of different rules, separating structural from cyclical effects, and examines how these effects depend on the underlying fiscal distortion and on the degree of transparency of the budget.