Despite a longstanding debate around the economic effects of fiscal consolidation policies, relatively few studies have focused on developing countries, and even fewer have paid attention to the growth implications at firm level. Using a unique narrative dataset based on contemporaneous policy documents to identify changes in fiscal policy aimed at reducing the accumulation of public debt, we investigate the effects of fiscal consolidation on the growth of 118,279 firms in 98 developing countries from 2006 to 2018. The results indicate that a one percentage point increase in fiscal consolidation as a share of GDP leads, on average, to a decline in firm growth of 3.97 percentage points. This decline is reduced when consolidation is large. We also find that debt-driven consolidation based on tax hikes is more contractionary than that based on spending cuts, though this contractionary effect is mitigated when spending cuts exceed 1.5 percent of GDP. While the negative effect of fiscal consolidation on firm performance is more pronounced in large and non-exporting firms, the effect is not statistically important in low-debt-risk developing countries.
Bibliographical note© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
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- fiscal consolidation
- sovereign debt
- firm performance
- developing countries