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 examines whether there is a case for temporary but persistent fiscal surpluses in economies heavily endowed with nonrenewable resources. It finds that there generally is a case. Fiscal surpluses permit replacing nonfinancial wealth with financial assets, the return on which increases public consumption possibilities of future generations for a constant across-generation tax burden. The more biased are a government’s preferences toward present generations, the lower will be the initial surpluses; the larger the finite endowment, the larger the initial surpluses. In a more general framework, including public investment, the proposition could be rephrased by replacing surpluses with stronger initial fiscal positions.