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.
India has a long history of running fiscal deficits. Two broad considerations motivate a government to run a deficit: tax smoothing and tax tilting. This paper tests a version of Barro’s tax-smoothing model, using Indian data for the period 1951-52 to 1996-97. The empirical results indicate that the central government of India has tax-smoothed, while the regional governments of India have not. The paper also finds evidence of tax tilting, reflected in financial repression, which has led to the accumulation of excessive public liabilities.