Introduction

Fiscal policy affects macroeconomic stability, growth, and income distribution. Citizens expect their governments to ensure value-for-money for public spending, a fair and efficient tax system, and transparent and accountable management of public sector resources.

The IMF has been a leading source of fiscal policy and management expertise worldwide. The IMF monitors and analyzes global fiscal trends and advises IMF member countries on fiscal issues directly. This page highlights the main fiscal policy issues currently under discussion, as well as provides links to research, publications, and commentary.

Additional Spending and Forgone Revenue in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

(Percent of G20)

Budgetary fiscal support to people and firms has varied widely across countries.

Map SM21 Fiscal Policies Database

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Current Fiscal Issues Fiscal Monitor: Policies for the Recovery

Fiscal Monitor: A Fair Shot

Chapter 1: Tailoring Fiscal Responses

This chapter overviews countries’ fiscal actions and discusses how governments' policies should adapt to get ahead of the pandemic, protect vulnerable households and viable firms, and set the stage for a greener, fairer, and more durable recovery. Global cooperation on vaccination must be scaled up to produce and distribute vaccines to all countries at affordable costs. Until the pandemic is brought under control globally, fiscal policy must remain flexible and supportive, and increasingly tailored to country circumstances. To balance the risks from growing debt with those from premature withdrawal of policy support, policymakers need to develop credible medium-term fiscal frameworks. This effort could be supported by improving the design of fiscal rules or by “preapproving” future tax reforms. Fiscal policy should also enable a green, digital, and inclusive transformation of the economy in the post–COVID-19 environment.

Chapter 2: A Fair Shot

This chapter discusses fiscal policies to tackle inequalities, especially in access to basic public services. Large preexisting inequalities have worsened the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the crisis, in turn, has escalated these inequalities. A holistic approach, which encompasses both predistributive and redistributive policies, are needed to break the circle of inequality. Investing in education, healthcare, and early childhood development and strengthening social safety nets can have a powerful effect on improving access and hence lifetime opportunities. These policies can be financed by raising progressivity and strengthening overall tax capacity. Given that public support for better access to basic services, financed through higher taxes, has been strong and is likely rising with the pandemic, governments need to announce comprehensive policy packages, embedded in medium-term fiscal frameworks, that gives everyone a fair shot and strengthens trust in governments. Such reforms can support inclusive growth, strengthen trust, and build social cohesion.

Special Series on COVID-19

The Special Series notes are produced by IMF experts to help members address the economic effects of COVID-19. The series addresses issues in tax policy, tax administration, public financial management, expenditure policy, and macro-fiscal policies.

Global debt  

Global debt is at all times high.