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.
Private investment is the principal transmission channel through which fiscal policy affects growth in high-income countries. In low-income countries, governance and also other considerations suggest that the primary channel is factor productivity. Empirical results reported in this paper confirm this expectation: in low-income countries, factor productivity is some four times more effective than investment as a channel for increasing growth through fiscal policy. Although the private investment response to fiscal contraction may be minor, high-deficit, low-income countries can nonetheless benefit from a reduction in unsustainable fiscal deficits because of governance-related factor productivity responses that increase growth.