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Working Paper

Budget Structure, Budget Process, and Fiscal Consolidation in Korea

페이스북
커버이미지
  • 저자 고영선(高英先)
  • 발행일 2000/04/01
  • 시리즈 번호 2000-03
원문보기
요약 Public finance in Korea has been undergoing a rapid change since the economic
crisis. The central government budget, which remained more or less in balance
from the early 1980s, went into a deficit during the crisis due to falling tax
revenues and rising expenditures for financial restructuring and social
programs. The level of government debt as percentage of GDP almost doubled in
three years.

The current experience is comparable to that in OECD countries in the aftermath
of the first oil shock. Before the oil shock, government budgets in most
countries were in balance. But the anti-recessionary policies in the latter
half of the 1970s increased deficits to a substantial extent. This fed into
rising public debt, which in turn increased interest payments and budget
deficits. A vicious cycle of debt accumulation set in. Only recently are there
signs of budgets returning to a balance in some of these countries.*

This paper addresses the issues of fiscal consolidation in Korea. There are
many dimensions to consider in pursuing fiscal consolidation. Section 2
explains the past and present fiscal situation in Korea as a background for
discussion. Section 3 focuses on the structure and scope of the budget. Here
the structure refers to various accounts and funds that make up the budget in
Korea. The scope means the extent of the public sector covered by the budget.
In all respects, it will be argued that the current budget system in Korea needs
improvement to facilitate fiscal consolidation.

In Section 4, I will discuss the relation between fiscal consolidation and the
budget process. Von Hagen and Harden (1996) argue that the centralization at
each point of the budget process -- government stage, parliamentary stage,
implementation and revision, and ex post control and accountability -- affects
the fiscal outcome. Their argument is applied to the Korean case and policy
directions are suggested. Section 5 concludes the paper.



* For example, the United States government forecasts that its future surpluses
will be so large that all debts will disappear by 2013. However, it is quite
uncertain whether this will actually happen (see The Economist, Feb. 12. 2000)
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