Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
April 2005
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    Pamphlet Series

    No. 48

    Unproductive Public Expenditures A Pragmatic Approach to Policy Analysis Fiscal Affairs Department

    Prepared by

    Ke-young Chu

    Sanjeev Gupta

    Benedict Clements

    Daniel Hewitt

    Sergio Lugaresi

    Jerald Schiff

    Ludger Schuknecht

    Gerd Schwartz


    Washington, D.C.


    ISSN 0538-8759

    ISBN 9781557755414

    Reprinted May 1999

    The opinions expressed in the pamphlet are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Executive Directors of the International Monetary Fund or their national authorities.

    • The term “country,” as used in this pamphlet, 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.


    Public expenditure productivity is critically important for fiscal adjustment and sustainability, particularly when resources for supporting public services are limited. Focusing exclusively on the revenue side is not advisable, as increasing the productivity of public expenditures can provide a viable option for reducing the deficit or expanding critical expenditure programs.

    The purpose of this pamphlet is to analyze the issue of public expenditure productivity and present some pragmatic suggestions for its improvement. An earlier version was discussed in a seminar by the IMF’s Executive Board.

    The pamphlet is the product of a collaborative effort of the staff of the Fiscal Affairs Department’s Expenditure Policy Division. The authors would like to thank Zuliu Hu, Edgardo Ruggiero, and Caroline Van Rijckeghem for extensive discussions and comments, and Helga Hessenius for assisting in the final revision of the pamphlet. Tarja Papavassiliou provided statistical and computational assistance. Other colleagues in the Fiscal Affairs Department, other IMF departments, and the World Bank provided many valuable comments on, and contributions to, earlier drafts. The pamphlet was edited by Thomas Walter of the External Relations Department. The authors bear the sole responsibility for any remaining errors.

    Finally, the authors are grateful to Vito Tanzi, Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department, for guidance and comments on earlier drafts of this pamphlet.

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