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.
Benedict Clements, Christopher Faircloth, and Marijn Verhoeven
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper examines trends in government spending in Latin America from the mid-1990s to 2006. It also examines key policy issues, including the cyclicality of spending, public investment, public employment, and social expenditures. It finds that primary expenditures have trended upward for the past ten years as a share of GDP, driven by increases in current spending, in particular for social expenditures. Fluctuations in real spending have continued to follow a procyclical pattern. The paper finds that there is substantial scope to improve the efficiency of public investment, public employment, and social spending.