The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently released the following working papers on the topics of tax, pension and fiscal policy:


State Institutions and Tax Capacity: An Empirical Investigation of Causality, Working Paper No. 19/177.

By Olusegun Ayodele Akanbi

Would better state institutions increase tax collection, or would higher tax collection help improve state institutions? In the absence of conclusive guidance from theory, this paper searches for an empirical answer to this question, using a panel dataset covering 110 non-resource-rich countries from 1996 to 2017. Employing a panel vector error correction model, the paper finds that tax capacity and state institutions cause and reinforce each other for a wide range of country groups. The bi-directional causality results suggest that developing tax capacity and building state institutions need to go hand in hand for best results, particularly in developing countries. Based on the impulse response analyses, the paper also finds that the causal effects in advanced economies are generally low in both directions, while in developing countries, both tax capacity and institutions shocks have larger positive impacts on institutions and tax capacity, respectively.


Informality and the Challenge of Pension Adequacy: Outlook and Reform Options for Peru, Working Paper No. 19/149.

By Christoph Freudenberg and Frederik G Toscani

Past reforms have put the Peruvian pension system on a largely fiscally sustainable path, but the system faces important challenges in providing adequate pension levels for a large share of the population. Using administrative microdata at the affiliate level, we project replacement rates in the defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) pillars over the next 30 years and simulate the impact of various reform scenarios on the average level and distribution of pensions. In the DB pillar, the regressive minimum contribution period should be re-thought, while in the DC pillar a broadening of the contribution base and/or an increase in contribution rates would help increase replacement rates relative to the baseline forecast of 25-33 percent. A higher net real rate of return than assumed in the baseline would also have a significant positive impact. In the medium-term, labor market reform to tackle informality, and a broad pension reform to restructure the system and avoid competition between the DB and DC pillars should be a priority. Given low pension coverage, having a strong non-contributory pillar will remain important for the foreseeable future.


The Rewards of Fiscal Consolidation: Sovereign Spreads and Confidence Effects, Working Paper No. 19/141.

By Antonio David, Jaime Guajardo and Juan Yepez

This paper investigates the effects of fiscal consolidation announcements on sovereign spreads in a panel of 21 emerging market economies during 2000-18. We construct a novel dataset using a global news database to identify the precise announcement date of fiscal consolidation actions. Our results show that sovereign spreads decline significantly following news that austerity measures have been approved by the legislature (congress or parliament), in periods of high sovereign spreads or in countries under an IMF program. In addition, consolidation announcements are less contractionary when sovereign spreads decline, with the reduction in output being half of the counterfactual case in which spreads do not respond to announcements. These results constitute direct evidence that confidence effects, in the form of lower sovereign spreads, are an important transmission channel of fiscal shocks. We also find that the role of confidence effects increases with the level of spreads such that countries with high spread levels stand to benefit the most from putting in place credible austerity packages.


Public Wealth in the United States, Working Paper No. 19/139.

By Fabien Gonguet and Klaus-Peter Hellwig

We analyze the US public sector balance sheet and project it forward under the assumption that current policies remain in place. We first document the history of the balance sheet and its components since World War II, with a detailed account of its evolution during and after the global financial crisis. While, based on assets and liabilities alone, public sector net worth is negative, additional challenges arise from commitments to future spending implied by current legislation and demographic trends. To quantify the risks to the balance sheet, we then apply the macroeconomic scenarios from the Federal Reserve’s bank stress test to the public sector balance sheet.

Comments are closed.