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 assesses the presence of opportunistic electoral budget cycles in Papua New Guinea. Using quarterly time series data, a clear pattern emerges of pre-election manipulations of fiscal policy by incumbent governments, mainly in the form of increased development spending and overall primary expenditure, followed in some cases by retrenchment in post-election periods. These findings are consistent with the predictions of rational opportunistic political business cycle theory. It is noteworthy that revenue was not statistically significantly related to elections, either in the pre- or post-election period. In this regard, electoral swings in fiscal deficits reflect a preference for influencing expenditures rather than taxation.