World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data
Making Fiscal Space Happen!
Peter S. Heller, Menachem Katz, Xavier Debrun, Theo Thomas, Taline Koranchelian & Isabell Adenauer
World Economics, September 2006

Debt relief and the scaling up of aid to low-income countries should allow for increased fiscal space for expenditure programs to spur long-term growth and reduce poverty. But as discussed in Peter Heller’s article “Pity the Finance Minister” (World Economics, Vol. 6, No. 4), designing a suitable medium-term fiscal framework that fosters a sustainable delivery of better public services and infrastructure while maintaining a credible commitment to fiscal prudence raises many challenges. This article first discusses what low-income countries can do to formulate fiscal policy frameworks that are ambitious in their goals for absorbing additional aid while maintaining longer-term sustainability of the expenditure programs and government finances. It then suggests the approaches required to manage the heightened fiscal policy risks associated with a scaled-up aid environment, including issues of coordination with monetary policy. And finally, the article discusses what institutional changes are needed if donors and countries are to facilitate the implementation of a higher level of aid-financed spending programs.
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