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Sustainability of fiscal policy in an oil-rich economy: the case of Nigeria

Olusegun Akanbi

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, 2015, vol. 6, issue 4, 380-401

Abstract: Purpose - – The purpose of this paper is to examine the sustainability of fiscal policy in Nigeria by disaggregating the economy into oil and non-oil segments. Design/methodology/approach - – Owing to the enormous influence of the oil revenue, the study distinguishes between the oil and non-oil fiscal balances. In addition, it abstracted from the endogenous macroeconomic environment, therefore, fiscal policy sustainability is investigated on the basis of the responses of the government primary balance to changes in deficits and debt levels. The models are estimated with time-series data from 1970 to 2011 using the Johansen estimation techniques. Findings - – The results from the estimations performed suggest that government responds more to deficit targets than debt targets. However, this differs in the non-oil segment, as the fiscal policy actions of government do not consistently respond to either deficit or debt targets. Given this, the overall economy and the oil segment have revealed a strong fiscal sustainability over the years while fiscal policy is unsustainable in the non-oil segment. Research limitations/implications - – The major limitation of this study is the unavailability of data on government expenditure resulting from oil revenue. Therefore, it would be imperative to reinvestigate the specifications adopted in this study in follow-up studies. Practical implications - – The study includes implications for policy makers, especially in Nigeria and other oil-producing countries, to detect the extent to which the economy should rely on the oil revenue stream as the main source of revenue to government. The proceeds from the oil endowment have not yet trickled down to the rest of the economy where real economic activity could be carried out which would eventually lead to more tax revenue for the government. Originality/value - – To assess the sustainability of fiscal policy in an oil-rich economy such as Nigeria, it is imperative to detect the influence of oil funds on both government revenue streams and expenditure decisions. This study has made this distinction.

Keywords: Nigeria; Fiscal sustainability; Non-oil segment; Oil segment; Steady-state debt (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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