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Mr. Zamid Aligishiev, Mr. Giovanni Melina, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This note is a user’s manual for the DIGNAR-19 toolkit, an application aimed at facilitating the use of the DIGNAR-19 model by economists with no to little knowledge of Matlab and Dynare via a user-friendly Excel-based interface. he toolkit comprises three tools—the simulation tool, the graphing tool, and the realism tool—that translate the contents of an Excel input file into instructions for Matlab/Dynare programs. These programs are executed behind the scenes. Outputs are saved in a separate Excel file and can also be visualized in customizable charts.
Mr. Sandeep Saxena and Sami Ylaoutinen
Virements are useful instruments of budget flexibility. If carried out transparently and within accepted limits, virements can promote expenditure efficiency. Large, unregulated virements can undermine budget credibility and the budget’s relevance as principal policy and financial planning instrument. This note defines virements, clarifies their purpose, and specifies what general and country-specific considerations should guide the design of a virement framework. The note argues that countries should design virement policies maintaining balance between their budget flexibility and accountability needs, and keeping in view the legal-cultural environment and the state of development of their public financial management.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
What considerations should guide public debt policy going forward? Should debt be reduced to achieve normative anchors (such as 60 percent of GDP), should it be increased further to finance a big public investment push, or should the existing debt be serviced forever? We argue that, for countries with ample fiscal space (little risk of encountering a fiscal crisis), raising distortive taxes merely to bring the debt down is a treatment cure that is worse than the disease. High public debt of course is costly, but it is a sunk cost only made worse by efforts to pay down the debt through distortionary taxation. Living with the debt is the welfare-maximizing policy. In decisions vis-à-vis the big push for public investment, golden-rule considerations remain salient, with due account taken of the additional servicing costs (and associated distortive taxation) from the resulting buildup of public debt.
Mr. Martin D. Cerisola, Mr. Chadi Abdallah, Mr. Victor A Davies, and Mr. Mark Fischer
This note is a reference guide to the econometric work on fiscal multipliers for MENAP countries. Spending and tax multipliers are estimated from conventional VAR models and identified using a sign-restrictions approach. Estimates show that fiscal multipliers tend to be small, except for those associated with government investment spending, which generally exceed unity. For the average MENAP country, fiscal multipliers for current spending, government consumption and government investment spending are 0.5, 0.8, and 1.1,respectively, while the tax revenues multiplier is estimated at around –0.4. There is also significant variation in the size of these multipliers across countries, consistent with differences in economic fundamentals, such as openness to trade and the flexibility of the exchange rate. The estimated multipliers are generally consistent with theoretical priors, and are in line with the evidence from the literature for other economies and categories of spending and taxes.
Ms. Maria A Albino, Ms. Svetlana Cerovic, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Mr. Juan C Flores, Mr. Javier Kapsoli, Mr. Haonan Qu, Mr. Yahia Said, Mr. Bahrom Shukurov, Mr. Martin Sommer, and Mr. SeokHyun Yoon
Over the past decade, rising oil prices have translated into high levels of public investment in most MENA and CCA oil exporters. This has prompted questions about the efficiency of public investment in generating growth and closing infrastructure gaps, as well as concerns about fiscal vulnerabilities. When public investment is inefficient, higher levels of spending may simply lead to larger budget deficits, without sufficiency increasing the quantity or quality of public infrastructure in support of economic growth. This paper examines the efficiency of public investment in the MENA and CCA oil exporters using several techniques, including a novel application of the efficiency frontier analysis, estimates of unit investment costs, and assessments of public investment processes. The analysis confirms that these oil exporters have substantial room to improve public investment efficiency. Reforms in the public financial and investment management systems are needed to achieve this objective.
Ms. Maria A Albino, Ms. Svetlana Cerovic, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Mr. Juan C Flores, Mr. Javier Kapsoli, Mr. Haonan Qu, Mr. Yahia Said, Mr. Bahrom Shukurov, Mr. Martin Sommer, and Mr. SeokHyun Yoon
Over the past decade, rising oil prices have translated into high levels of public investment in most MENA and CCA oil exporters. This has prompted questions about the efficiency of public investment in generating growth and closing infrastructure gaps, as well as concerns about fiscal vulnerabilities. When public investment is inefficient, higher levels of spending may simply lead to larger budget deficits, without sufficiency increasing the quantity or quality of public infrastructure in support of economic growth. This paper examines the efficiency of public investment in the MENA and CCA oil exporters using several techniques, including a novel application of the efficiency frontier analysis, estimates of unit investment costs, and assessments of public investment processes. The analysis confirms that these oil exporters have substantial room to improve public investment efficiency. Reforms in the public financial and investment management systems are needed to achieve this objective.
Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte, Mr. Thomas Baunsgaard, and Christine J. Richmond
Staff Discussion Notes showcase the latest policy-related analysis and research being developed by individual IMF staff and are published to elicit comment and to further debate. These papers are generally brief and written in nontechnical language, and so are aimed at a broad audience interested in economic policy issues. This Web-only series replaced Staff Position Notes in January 2011.
Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte, Mr. Thomas Baunsgaard, and Christine J. Richmond
En la serie de Documentos de Análisis del Personal Técnico del FMI se presentan los últimos análisis e investigaciones sobre políticas elaborados por miembros del personal técnico del FMI, que se publican para recibir comentarios y fomentar el debate. Estos documentos generalmente son breves y están escritos en un lenguaje no técnico, ya que se dirigen a un público amplio interesado en temas de política económica. Esta serie solo se publica en la página web y reemplazó en enero de 2011 a la serie de Notas de Opinión del Personal Técnico del FMI.
Mr. Timothy C Irwin
This proposed SDN surveys the various accounting stratagems which governments have used to meet fiscal targets—thereby sidestepping the need for true adjustment—and suggests remedial actions to limit this type of fiscal non-transparency. Types of creative accounting covered includes, for instance, currency swaps to hide a debt build-up (as in Greece in 2001–07), sale and leaseback of government property (for example, in the United States), assumption of long-term pension obligations in exchange for short-term revenue (Argentina, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries), use of public-private partnerships to defer the recognition of investment spending (for instance, Portugal), and reliance on non-cash compensation (such as pension rights) to reduce measured wage bills (in the United States, United Kingdom, etc.) As is evident from the examples given, these fiscal tricks have recently come under increased international scrutiny, highlighting the importance of good fiscal reporting, accounting, and transparency in general, for avoiding unpleasant surprises, ensuring government accountability, and containing fiscal vulnerabilities.