An alternative perspective on South Africa’s public debt, 1962-1994

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP19/2010 (revised, version: 2)
 
Publication date: 2010
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

The history of public debt reflects the cumulative effect of fiscal decisions and real outcomes in the economy. In the South African case the published record on public debt distorts the historical perspective on the associated fiscal decisions. This note shows the impact of adjusting the South African public debt on an accrual basis to take account of two major obligations assumed in the first half of the 1990s, namely actuarial pension fund deficits and government debt of the apartheid homelands. The adjusted series is less volatile and rose less steeply between 1989 and 1996 than the official, cash based debt series. Failing to account for the evolution of these obligations exaggerates the impression of weak fiscal discipline in the early nineties and exemplary fiscal prudence in preceding decades.

 
JEL Classification:

H62, H63, G23

Keywords:

South African public debt, fiscal discipline, accrual classification, pension fund deficits, sub-national debt

Download: PDF (512 KB)

Login

(for staff & registered students)



Need a password?
Forgot your password?

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

Read the full issue
 

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

Read the full issue