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.
Emanuele Baldacci, Sanjeev Gupta, and Carlos Mulas-Granados
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper analyzes the experience of 99 advanced and developing economies in restoring fiscal sustainability during 1980 - 2008 after banking crises, which led to large accumulation of public debt. It finds that successful debt reductions have relied chiefly on generation of large primary surpluses in post-crisis years through current expenditure cuts. These savings have been accompanied by growth-promoting measures and a supportive monetary policy stance. While these results are consistent with the existing literature, the paper finds that revenue-raising measures increased the likelihood of successful consolidation in countries that faced large adjustment needs after the crisis. This reflects the fall in effectiveness of spending cuts when deficit reduction needs are large independent of initial tax ratios.