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Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Saida Khamidova
This paper studies the evolution of worldwide military spending during 1970-2018. It finds that military spending in relation to GDP is converging, but into three separate groups of countries. In the largest group, responsible for 90 percent of worldwide spending, outlays have remained stubbornly high. Military spending in developing economies reacts to improvements in security conditions and military spending in neighboring countries, suggesting that further increases in the peace dividend are possible. In developing economies, rising social spending tends to crowd out military outlays, but this is not the case in advanced economies. With social outlays projected to rise as developing countries look to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), military spending could come under pressure to fall further.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and John Ricco
This paper provides an empirical analysis of how the frequency and severity of terrorism affect government revenue and expenditure during the period 1970–2013 using a panel dataset on 153 countries. We find that terrorism has only a marginal negative effect on tax revenue performance, after controlling for economic and institutional factors. This effect is also not robust to alternative specifications and empirical strategies. On the other hand, we find strong evidence that terrorism is associated with an increase in military spending as a percent of GDP (and a share of total government expenditure). Our estimations reveal that this impact is greater when terrorist attacks are frequent and result in a large number of fatalities. Empirical findings also support the view that public finances in developing and low-income countries are more vulnerable to terrorism than those in countries that are richer and diversified.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Fernando M. Gonçalves
Trends in the size of U.S. government are examined. In the postwar period, general government primary spending rose by ¼ percent of GDP a year through 1975, stabilizing thereafter. With higher social transfers offset by a lower burden of defense spending, expansion reflected a baby-boom driven rise in education spending. The parallel improvement in tax efficiency helped equate the benefits of higher spending with the costs from higher taxation, in accordance with a marginalist view of the size of government. Looking forward, the retirement of baby boomers appears likely to expand government and lead to a more efficient tax system.
International Monetary Fund


Public expenditure policy, together with efforts to raise revenue,is at the core of efficient and equitable adjustment. Public expenditureproductivity has critical implications for fiscal adjustment, particularly as the competition for limited public resources intensifies.By providing a framework for defining and analyzing public expenditureproductivity and unproductive expenditures, this pamphlet discusseshow economic policymakers may approach these issues.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Mr. George T. Abed


This volume presents 18 IMF research studies on the causes and consequences of corruption, as well as how it can most effectively be combated to improve governance, increase economic growth, and reduce poverty. The authors examine how civil service wages affect corruption, the impact of natural resource availability on corruption, the impact of corruption on a country’s income distribution and incidence of poverty, and the effect of corruption on government expenditures on health and education.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For many years, the IMF has tracked countries’ military spending. The IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department describes its most recent findings and also looks at patterns in military as well as poverty-reducing spending in countries with loans under the IMF’s concessional Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).