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.
This paper analyzes the erosion of fiscal revenue by inflation resulting from the issuance of money. The empirical evidence for a number of developing countries supports the well-known hypothesis that an increase in inflation will result in a fall in real fiscal revenue because of collection lags, thereby possibly widening the fiscal deficit. As such, attempts to generate resources to finance government expenditures via the inflation tax will involve a loss in other revenues, making this form of taxation even less desirable.