One of the most striking macroeconomic developments during the last three decades is the rise and persistence of large fiscal deficits in a number of countries. Despite recent major fiscal reforms around the world, many countries suffer from recurrent large fiscal imbalances that often reflect lack of fiscal discipline. Why do some countries have recurrent fiscal deficit or volatility problems, while others do not? What factors are most important in explaining cross-country variation in fiscal outcomes? How are they related to growth or inflation? This book presents new, rigorous, theoretical and empirical studies on these fiscal issues, and highlights social polarization as an essential organizing principle in a political economy approach. Also, it discusses how institutional constraints may favourably affect fiscal dynamics in the presence of social polarization.

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