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Impact of fiscal consolidation on economic growth: the Tunisian case

Abstract : Purpose Departing from the expansionary austerity literature, this study aims at examining how fiscal consolidation affects the economic growth in Tunisia using annual data over the period 1970–2018. Design/methodology/approach To revisit the fiscal consolidation-economic growth nexus, the ambiguous empirical findings in previous literature make useful the adoption of alternative econometric techniques. The authors use an extended nonlinear autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) cointegration approach developed by Shin et al . (2014) and the Diks and Panchenko's (2006) nonlinear Granger causality test. Furthermore, a traditional approach based on changes in cyclically-adjusted primary balance was applied to define the fiscal consolidation episodes in Tunisia. Findings The empirical evidence reveal that fiscal adjustment in Tunisia may hurt the economy, both in the short- and long-run, through its contractionary effect on economic growth. Another important finding concerns the unidirectional nonlinear Granger causality running from fiscal consolidation to economic growth. Practical implications Fiscal adjustment in Tunisia is found to play a prominent role in reducing public debt; but at the same time, it may be costly and not beneficial to the economy. This view corroborates with the fact that fiscal consolidation is more likely to end successfully only under specific conditions. This calls for a deeper reflection upon new insights regarding the design of fiscal adjustment in Tunisia. To reach this end, it is suggested to combine the defensive consolidation strategy with offensive components such as investment, infrastructure, education and health. Originality/value The existing economic analysis on fiscal policy-growth nexus in Tunisia has often identified fiscal consolidation through the use of the actual fiscal balance. With the goal of more accurate estimation, this study bridges the gap by using the cyclically-adjusted primary balance (CAPB) as a much suitable indicator to investigate the non-Keynesian effect of fiscal consolidation in Tunisia. This indicator eliminates the influence of cyclical fluctuations and many other fixed expenditures such as the interest paid on the public debt.
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https://hal-univ-orleans.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03810095
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 11, 2022 - 10:27:45 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 18, 2022 - 3:07:24 AM

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Ameni Mtibaa, Amine Lahiani, Foued Badr Gabsi. Impact of fiscal consolidation on economic growth: the Tunisian case. Journal of Risk Finance, 2022, ⟨10.1108/JRF-01-2022-0027⟩. ⟨hal-03810095⟩

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