The prolonged sluggishness in the world economy since the global financial crisis has led to growing calls for a reorientation of macroeconomic policies toward more supportive fiscal measures. Such calls inevitably invite the question of how much fiscal space governments actually have. This paper provides a systematic review of the most popular definitions and measures of fiscal space. It examines the evolution of fiscal space measures and discusses the pros and cons of each measure. It then outlines several key factors that could help to further strengthen existing approaches and allow a more comprehensive assessment of fiscal space. By illustrating how different measures paint considerably different pictures of an economy’s fiscal space, the paper underscores the need to use a dashboard of indicators.

Sustainable Development Goals:
Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development

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  • Published online: 16 Jan 2018
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