Mr. Miguel A Alves, Mrs. Sage De Clerck, and Juliana Gamboa-Arbelaez
This paper provides an overview of the Public Sector Balance Sheet (PSBS) Database, a dataset developed in the context of the October 2018 Fiscal Monitor. The dataset provides a comprehensive picture of public wealth for 38 countries, and a narrower picture for further 37 countries and territories. Comprehensive PSBSs bring together all the accumulated assets and liabilities that governments control, including public corporations, natural resources, and pension liabilities. They therefore account for the entirety of what the state owns and owes, offering a broader fiscal picture beyond debt and deficits. This is particularly relevant in the current context of record and still rising debts and heightened risks to the balance sheet of the public sector. PSBSs bring about greater transparency and allow closer scrutiny of government’s financial position. They also allow better balance sheet management, thereby potentially increasing return on assets, reducing risks and the costs of borrowing, and improving fiscal policymaking. The paper also elaborates on the conceptual framework and methodology used in compiling the data, and provides some practical guidelines on the compilation, validation, and dissemination of such data.
Mr. Roberto Perotti, Mr. Massimo V. Rostagno, and Mr. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti
We study the effects of electoral institutions on the size and composition of public expenditure in OECD and Latin American countries. We present a model emphasizing the distinction between purchases of goods and services, which are easier to target geographically, and transfers, which are easier to target across social groups. Voters have an incentive to elect representatives more prone to transfer spending in proportional systems. The model also predicts higher primary spending in proportional systems when the share of transfer spending is high. After defining rigorous measures of proportionality, we find considerable empirical support for our predictions.
This paper discusses the strategic building blocks of pension reform. The early sections set out the simple economics of pensions and discuss a series of myths which have proved remarkably persistent. Subsequent sections draw together the conclusions for policy design from earlier theoretical discussion, set out the prerequisites which any pension reform must respect, and discuss the range of choices facing policymakers. The main conclusions are threefold: the key variable is effective government; from an economic perspective the difference between PAYG and funding is second order; and the range of potential choice over pension design is wide.
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.