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.
Marcela Matamoros-Indorf, Mrinalini Sharma, Simon Townsend, and Luis Jácome
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Using a central bank legislation database, this paper documents and analyzes worldwide institutional arrangements for central bank lending to the government and identifies international practices. Key findings are: (i) in most advanced countries, central banks do not finance government expenditure; (ii) in a large number of emerging and developing countries, short-term financing is allowed in order to smooth out tax revenue fluctuations; (iii) in most countries, the terms and conditions of these loans are typically established by law, such that the amount is capped at a small proportion of annual government revenues, loans are priced at market interest rates, and their maturity falls within the same fiscal year; and (iv) in the vast majority of countries, financing other areas of the state, such as provincial governments and public enterprises, is not allowed. The paper does not address central banks' financial support during financial crises.