Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
April 1990
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    © 1990 International Monetary Fund

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Heller, Peter S.

    International comparisons of government expenditure revisited.

    (Occasional paper, ISSN 0251-6365 ; no. 69)

    Includes bibliographical references.

    1. Developing countries—Appropriations and expenditures.

    2. Government spending policy—Developing countries. I. Diamond, Jack. II. Title. III. Series: Occasional paper (International Monetary Fund) ; no. 69.

    HJ7980.H45 1990 336.3’9’091724 90-4578

    ISBN 9781557751362

    Price: US$10.00

    (US$7.50 university faculty members and students)

    Please send orders to:

    External Relations Department, Publication Services

    International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C. 20431

    Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201


    The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

    … to indicate that data are not available;

    — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

    – between years or months (e.g., 1987–88 or January-June to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

    / between years (e.g., 1987/88) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

    “Billion” means a thousand million.

    Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

    The term “country,” as used in this paper, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


    This study appraises the changes that have taken place in the underlying structural relationships determining government expenditures between 1975 and 1986. During this period, the macroeconomic policy environment within which budgets were formulated changed dramatically. Budgetary constraints became tighter, and, for some countries, the availability of external resources became more limited. The study also updates an earlier study by Alan A. Tait and Peter S. Heller, International Comparisons of Government Expenditure, Occasional Paper No. 10 (Washington: International Monetary Fund, 1982), which provided an empirical basis for comparing government expenditures across countries.

    The current study was prepared by Peter S. Heller, Chief, East Africa I Division, African Department, and Jack Diamond, Senior Economist, Budget and Expenditure Control Division, Fiscal Affairs Department. Research assistance was ably provided by Tarja Papavassiliou of the Fiscal Affairs Department. Anamaria Handford and Fiona Birrell provided exemplary secretarial assistance. The authors also wish to thank the editor, Juanita Roushdy of the External Relations Department, for her patience and attention to detail. The study has benefited from the helpful comments of Vito Tanzi, Alan A. Tait, and Richard Hemming. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Fund.

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