93. Identifying Fiscal Space: Options for Social and Economic Development for Children and Poor Households in 182 Countries – Social and Economic Policy Working Paper

It is often argued that social and economic investments that benefit children and poor households are not affordable or that government expenditure cuts are inevitable during adjustment periods. But there are alternatives, even in the poorest countries. This working paper offers an array of options that can be explored to expand fiscal space. These include: (i) re-allocating public expenditures, (ii) increasing tax revenues, (iii) lobbying for increased aid and transfers, (iv) tapping into fiscal and foreign exchange reserves, (v) borrowing and restructuring existing debt, and/or (vi) adopting a more accommodative macroeconomic framework. To serve as a general advocacy resource, the annex provides a summary of the latest fiscal space indicators for 182 countries. All of the fiscal space options described in this paper are supported by policy statements of the United Nations and international financial institutions. Each country is unique, and fiscal space options should be carefully examined – including the potential risks and trade-offs associated with each opportunity – at the national level and considered in an inclusive dialogue of alternatives to ensure a Recovery for All, including children and poor households. (Link)


Ortiz, I.; Chai, J.; Cummins, M. 2011. Identifying Fiscal Space: Options for Social and Economic Development for Children and Poor Households in 182 Countries – Social and Economic Policy Working Paper. UNICEF Policy and Practice. 64 p.

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