This paper provides a perspective on how the IMF assesses a “sound fiscal policy,” focusing principally on industrial and emerging market economies. It observes six central criteria: the short-term fiscal policy stance, with greater emphasis on automatic stabilizers than discretionary fiscal policy; relevance of medium- and sometimes long-term issues; fiscal sustainability; capacity for aggregate fiscal policy implementation (including political economy factors); structural content of fiscal policy (tax efficiency and public expenditure quality); and institutional, governance, and process issues associated with budget implementation and revenue collection. Greater emphasis could be placed on an adequate margin to deal with uncertain long-term challenges.
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