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.
Gabriela Inchauste, Bernardin Akitoby, Benedict Clements, and Sanjeev Gupta
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We examine the short- and long-term movements of government spending relative to output in 51 countries. We find that in the short term, the main components of government spending increase with output in about half of the sample countries, with some variation across spending categories and countries. Further, we find that there is a long-term relationship between government spending and output (in line with "Wagner's law") for the majority of countries for at least one spending aggregate. In the short term, we find that power dispersion and government size typically dampen the positive response of government spending to output. Output volatility and financial risk, on the other hand, contribute to the procylicality of government spending.