We examine electoral cycles in tax reforms using monthly data over the period of 1990-2018 for 22 advanced economies and emerging markets. We show that governments tend to avoid announcing tax reforms during the months running up to elections. In addition, they become more likely to announce those reforms in the first few months following elections, indicating that “political capital” plays a role in the timing of reforms. These patterns are broad-based regarding the changes in tax base and rate, and for various types of taxes. We also find that the pre-election decrease in the likelihood of tax reform announcements is stronger in emerging markets, and weaker in the countries with relatively better institutional quality. Finally, our results indicate that neither fiscal rules nor IMF programs appear to have differential effects on electoral cycles in tax reforms.
Kevin Greenidge, Mr. Meredith A McIntyre, and Hanlei Yun
Since the 1980’s with the introduction of IMF/WB adjustment programs structural reforms have been a core part of the reform agenda in the Caribbean. The paper reviewed the package of structural reforms in trade liberalization, financial liberalization and tax policy, and gauges their impact on growth. The paper used a set of reform indices to gauge both short-run and long-run effects of structural reforms on growth, controlling for other possible growth determinants using panel dynamic OLS estimation. In addition, recognizing the importance of institutions to growth the empirical analysis also analyzed the impact of institutional quality on growth for a sample of small states including the Caribbean. We concluded that the benefits of structural reforms are only seen over the long-term and in reinvigorating growth the reform effort needs to be revived and include greater attention to strengthening institutional quality.
This paper discusses how to enhance automatic stabilizers without increasing the size of government. We distinguish between permanent changes in the parameters of the tax and expenditure system (e.g., changes in tax progressivity) that will enhance the traditional automatic stabilizer, and temporary changes triggered by certain economic developments (e.g., tax measures targeted at credit and liquidity constrained households, triggered during a severe downturn). We argue that, with some exceptions, the latter are preferable as they can be implemented with lower disruptions in other fiscal policy goals (e.g., economic efficiency). Moreover, countries should also avoid introducing procyclicality as a result of fiscal rules, as these would offset the effect of existing automatic stabilizers.