Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Foreign Aid and the Public Sector: A Model of Fiscal Behaviour in Pakistan

Author: Zafar Iqbal

The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate the impact of foreign capital inflows on government’s fiscal behaviour in Pakistan. Government’s fiscal response is measured in terms of social, non-development, and development expenditures as well as revenues. This paper specifies and estimates a fiscal behaviour model for the period 1976–95. The threestage least squares results suggest that foreign capital flows into the public sector have strong positive impact on social and non-development expenditures and, in contrast to what the government and donor agencies believe, have little effect on development spending. In other words, proceeds from foreign loans and aid are largely consumed rather than invested productively. The results also reveal the strong substitutable interdependence between social and non-development expenditures. Furthermore, the finding clearly demonstrates that foreign assistance causes a strong shift of public domestic resources from development projects to non-development activities. In addition to the above, the results show that a large fraction of government revenues is used to finance social and non-development expenditures. The results also demonstrate that foreign assistance enhances taxation efforts of the Government of Pakistan.

Zafar Iqbal