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.
Nicolas End, Sampawende Tapsoba, G. Terrier, and Renaud Duplay
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
This paper examines the impact of deflation on fiscal aggregates. With deflation relatively rare in modern history, it relies mostly on the historical records, using a dataset panel covering 150 years and 21 advanced economies. Empirical evidence shows that deflation affects public finances mostly through increases in public debt ratios, reflecting a worsening in interest rate-growth differentials. On average, a mild rate of deflation increases public debt ratios by almost 2 percent of GDP a year, this impact being larger during recessionary deflations. Using a simulation model that accounts for composition effects and price expectations, we also find that, for European countries, a 2 percentage point deflationary shock in both 2015 and 2016 would lead to a deterioration in the primary balance of as much as 1 percent of GDP by 2019.