A multiregion applied general equilibrium model is used to examine the financial interactions among spheres of government in the context of fiscal consolidation. The framework combines nine regional submodels interacting through the trading of goods and services and the mobility of labor and capital. The model integrates intergovernmental fiscal transfers, which play an important role in reducing the disparity in living standards between regions. The analysis demonstrates that the current intergovernmental revenue transfer system has significant inter- and intraregional equity effects, although its nationwide impact is less important. Reducing intergovernmental transfers leads to a reduction in welfare in the four regions where the net transfers were initially positive (Limpopo, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West Province). In contrast, welfare increases in the five other regions (Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, Free State, Gauteng, and the Western Cape). When transfer revenues fall and, consequently, regional and local government revenues drop, poor households are the most affected, as they depend more on public services that are essentially financed by governments. When the government’s fiscal position improves, it is also poor households that benefit more from additional government expenses.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)