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Regime changes and fiscal sustainability in Kenya

William Nganga Irungu, Julien Chevallier and Simon Wagura Ndiritu

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 86, issue C, 1-9

Abstract: Kenya's fiscal policy landscape is characterized by primary deficit spending forcing the government to rely on debt to meet its objectives. The justification often being that as a developing economy, annual growth rates and future prospects may in the short run justify the uptake of debt to finance infrastructural development. However, given potential fiscal limits, fiscal cycles usually alternates between sustainable and unsustainable regimes and this has a bearing on long run sustainability. This study therefore sought to investigate the nature of fiscal policy regime in Kenya and the extent to which fiscal policy is sustainable in the long run taking into account periodic regime shifts. Markov switching models were used to endogenously determine fiscal policy regimes. Regime switching tests were used to test whether No-Ponzi game condition and debt stabilizing condition were met. The results established that regime switching model was suitable in explaining regime sustainable and unsustainable cycles. An investigation of fiscal policy regimes established that both sustainable and unsustainable regimes were dominant, and each lasted for an average of four years. There was evidence to imply the existence of procyclical fiscal policy in Kenya. Regime switching tests for long run sustainability suggested that the No-Ponzi game condition weakly holds in the Kenyan economy. Regime-based sensitivity analysis indicated that persistence of unsustainability regime for more than 4 years could threaten long-run fiscal sustainability.

Keywords: E62; F30; H61; Fiscal policy regimes; Procyclical fiscal policy fiscal sustainability; No Ponzi games condition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2019.01.009

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