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.
Elva Bova, Marta Ruiz-Arranz, Frederik Toscani, and H. Elif Ture
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
We construct the first comprehensive dataset of contingent liability realizations in advanced and emerging markets for the period 1990–2014. We find that contingent liability realizations are a major source of fiscal distress. The average fiscal cost of a contingent liability realization is 6 percent of GDP but costs can be as high as 40 percent for major financial sector bailouts. Contingent liability realizations are correlated among each other and tend to occur during periods of growth reversals and crises, accentuating pressure on the budget during already difficult times. Countries with stronger institutions are able to better control and address the underlying risks so that they are less exposed to contingent liability realizations.