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 analyzes interference and timeliness in the revenue-forecasting process, using new data on revenue-forecasting practices in low-income countries. Interference is defined as the occurrence of a significant deviation from purely technical forecasts. A theoretical model explains forecasting interference through government corruption. The data broadly supports the model, and the results are robust to alternative explanations. The paper also constructs three indices-transparency, formality, and organizational simplicity-that characterize revenue-forecasting practices, and assesses their effectiveness in producing an upfront-that is, timely-budget envelope. More transparent and simple forecasting processes lead to early budget constraints, while formality has no measurable effect.