The Asymmetric Effects of Tax Revenues on Government Expenditures in Iran

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of Economics, SemnanUniversity,Semnan-Iran


The tax-expenditure hypothesis posed by Milton Friedman emphasizes a positive causal relationship between government tax revenues and government expenditures. If citizens do not have a correct perception of the real tax burden and under-estimate the price of public goods and services, there is a negative causal relationship between tax revenues and government expenditures, which indicates existence of fiscal illusion. Using quarterly data. for the period 2001-2012, this paper investigates fiscal illusion in Iran. In order to achieve this goal, two symmetric and asymmetric error correction models, are estimated. According to results from Wald test in symmetric model, there is a negative causal relationship between real tax revenues, and real government expenditures. This result hence, confirms the presence of fiscal illusion in Iranian economy. Moreover, the results obtained from the asymmetric model show that there is merely fiscal illusion in the case of tax revenues reduction and there is no Granger causal relationship for the positive changes of tax revenues. Therefore, by a decline in tax revenues, government expenditures increase after a year due to fiscal illusion. Thus, it seems that in the state of government's budget deficit, raising the taxes is an efficient instrument.


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