Description : This paper investigates the effect of fiscal transparency on market assessments of sovereign risk, as measured by credit ratings. It measures this effect through a direct channel (uncertainty reduction) and an indirect channel (better fiscal policies and outcomes), and it differentiates between advanced and developing economies. Fiscal transparency is measured by an index based on the IMF’s Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). We find that fiscal transparency has a positive and significant effect on ratings, but it works through different channels in advanced and developing economies. In advanced economies the indirect effect of transparency through better fiscal outcomes is more significant whereas for developing economies the direct uncertainty-reducing effect is more relevant. Our results suggest that a one standard deviation improvement in fiscal transparency index is associated with a significant increase in credit ratings: by 0.7 and 1 notches in advanced and developing economies respectively.
Description : This paper explores the effects of fiscal transparency on the borrowing costs of 33 emerging and developing economies (EMs), and on foreign demand for their sovereign debt. Using multiple indicators, including a constructed one based on the published data in the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook, we measure the separate effects of the three dimensions of fiscal transparency: openness of the budget process, fiscal data transparency, and accountability of fiscal actors. The results suggest that higher fiscal transparency reduces sovereign interest rate spreads and increases foreign holdings of sovereign debt, with each dimension of fiscal transparency playing a different role. Availability of detailed cross-country comparable fiscal data, especially for balance sheet items, has shown to increase foreign investors’ willingness in holding EM sovereign debt.
Description : The current degradation of sovereign balance sheets raises very real concerns about how sovereign creditworthiness is measured by credit rating agencies. Given the disastrous economic and social effects of any downgrade, the book offers an alternative and calls for more transparency about the quantitative measures used in calibrating the rating process and how sovereign ratings are validated. It argues that oversight is required and procedures improved, including subjecting methodologies of assessing default to more standardization and monitoring. Sovereign Credit Rating explains the process of sovereign creditworthiness assessment and explores the consequences of possible inaccuracies in the process. Developing an innovative new methodology to assess ratings accuracy, it shows that the announcement of each rating action by the major credit rating agencies show alarming inconsistencies. Written by an internationally recognized author and professor, this unique book will be of interest to researchers and advanced students in corporate governance, accounting, public finance and regulation.
Description : This paper develops indices of fiscal transparency for a broad range of countries based on the IMF's Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency, using data derived from published fiscal transparency modules of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). The indices covers four clusters of fiscal transparency practices: data assurances, medium-term budgeting, budget execution reporting, and fiscal risk disclosures. More transparent countries are shown to have better credit ratings, better fiscal discipline, and less corruption, after controlling for other socioeconomic variables.
Description : This paper develops indices of fiscal transparency for a broad range of countries based on the IMF''s Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency, using data derived from published fiscal transparency modules of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs). The indices covers four clusters of fiscal transparency practices: data assurances, medium-term budgeting, budget execution reporting, and fiscal risk disclosures. More transparent countries are shown to have better credit ratings, better fiscal discipline, and less corruption, after controlling for other socioeconomic variables.
Description : In recent years, the term 'transparency' has emerged as one of the most popular and keenly-touted concepts around. In the economic-political debate, the principle of transparency is often advocated as a prerequisite for accountability, legitimacy, policy efficiency, and good governance, as well as a universal remedy against corruption, corporate and political scandals, financial crises, and a host of other problems. But transparency is more than a mere catch-phrase. Increased transparency is a bearing ideal behind regulatory reform in many areas, including financial reporting and banking regulation. Individual governments as well as multilateral bodies have launched broad-based initiatives to enhance transparency in both economic and other policy domains. Parallel to these developments, the concept of transparency has seeped its way into academic research in a wide range of social science disciplines, including the economic sciences. This increased importance of transparency in economics and business studies has called for a reference work that surveys existing research on transparency and explores its meaning and significance in different areas. The Oxford Handbook of Economic and Institutional Transparency is such a reference. Comprised of authoritative yet accessible contributions by leading scholars, this Handbook addresses questions such as: What is transparency? What is the rationale for transparency? What are the determinants and the effects of transparency? And is transparency always beneficial, or can it also be detrimental (if so, when)? The chapters are presented in three sections that correspond to three broad themes. The first section addresses transparency in different areas of economic policy. The second section covers institutional transparency and explores the role of transparency in market integration and regulation. Finally, the third section focuses on corporate transparency. Taken together, this volume offers an up-to-date account of existing work on and approaches to transparency in economic research, discusses open questions, and provides guidance for future research, all from a blend of disciplinary perspectives.
Description : Despite considerable progress made by Latin America’s biggest economies in putting their finances in order, numerous challenges remain. Public spending needs to incorporate more flexibility, ageing populations and social demands threaten future pressures on expenditure, and social and infrastructure spending need to be more cost-effective. At the same time, tax bases need to broaden to reduce reliance on distortionary taxes on financial transactions and enterprise turnover, and overall tax administration must be improved. Finally and foremost, the fiscal authorities need to keep public debt at sustainable levels, paving the way for faster, more resilient growth. This volume discusses progress made to date in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and points out the road ahead. It provides an overview of trends and highlights the diversity of fiscal adjustment processes in Latin American countries. It also describes the financial market perspective and role of sovereign debt ratings. The chapter on Argentina debunks the view that fiscal management in the 1990s was irresponsible, arguing instead that the financial crisis was caused by a confluence of costly pension reforms, Brady debt restructuring and the recognition of fiscal “skeletons” in the closet. The chapter on Brazil makes a case for a more entrenched culture of fiscal austerity to make the current achievements sustainable. The Chile chapter describes the role of political cohesiveness following the return of democracy in driving the economy to fiscal rectitude. Finally, the chapter on Mexico discusses different scenarios for debt dynamics and the country’s efforts to contain expenditure pressures.
Description : Fiscal discipline is essential to improve and sustain economic performance, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce vulnerabilities. Discipline is especially important if countries, industrial as well as developing, are to successfully meet the challenges, and reap the benefits of, economic and financial globalization. Lack of fiscal discipline generally stems from the injudicious use of policy discretion. The benefits of discretion are seen in terms of ability of policymakers to respond to unexpected shocks, and in allowing elected political representatives to fulfill their mandates. But discretion can be misused, resulting in persistent deficits and procyclical policies, rising debt levels, and, over time, a loss in policy credibility. The authors first explore the role of discretion in fiscal policy, and the extent, consequences, and causes of procyclicality, particularly in good times. They then examine how a variety of institutional approaches--fiscal rules, fiscal responsibility laws, fiscal agencies--can help improve fiscal discipline. While each of these approaches can play a useful role, the authors suggest that a strategy combining them is likely to be particularly beneficial. Although such a strategy requires political commitment and effective fiscal management, at the same time, the strategy itself can bolster political commitment by highlighting the restraints on government and raising the costs of failing to respect them.
Description : With the primary objective of conferring credibility on macroeconomic policies, an increasing number of advanced and emerging market economies have adopted various forms of fiscal rules (mainly balanced-budget requirements and debt limits). In contrast to previous fiscal rules, many of which lacked transparency, recently introduced rules have the potential of serving as a useful depoliticized policy framework, and over time, can contribute to stability and growth. To this end, they need to be well designed and supported by an appropriate institutional infrastructure.