Do Fiscal Rules Foster Fiscal Discipline in Resource-Rich Countries?


Ablam Estel Apeti ; Olivier Basdevant ; Veronique Salins

Publication Date:

April 29, 2023

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.


This paper investigates the performance of fiscal rules in resource-rich countries (RRC). Using panel data for 57 commodity exporting countries from 1976 to 2021, we find that fiscal rules: (i) reduce the procyclicality of real public expenditures with terms of trade in oil exporting countries, and (ii) improve non-resource primary balances in all RRC, especially during terms of trade upturns. The rules’ design matters. Addressing the procyclicality of public expenditures with terms-of-trade can be achieved with expenditure rules, and, for oil-exporters, revenue rules (althoug limited data on the latter calls for taking the results cautiously). To improve non-resource fiscal balances, debt rules and fiscal balance rules are shown to have a positive impact, especially in oil exporting countries. We further investigate the effect of fiscal rules and other features of the fiscal framework through case studies (for Botswana, Mongolia, and Timor-Leste). These cases highlight that even when fiscal rules are not fully complied with, they lead to some degree of fiscal discipline. The case studies also highlight the importance of the quality of fiscal frameworks: frequent revisions, lack of compliance or low stringency of the rules can significantly hamper their effectiveness.


Working Paper No. 2023/088





Publication Date:

April 29, 2023



Stock No:






Please address any questions about this title to