At the same time regions and municipalities have actively used various types of offsets and money surrogates to cover budgetary deficits and payment arrears. The most wide-spread form of tax payment for a long time was bills issued by large companies (mainly regional subsidiaries of natural monopolies rendering public utility services to organizations financed from the budget), as well as bills issued by regional administrations. The bills circulated between regional and municipal enterprises and local budgets, who therefore received a part of tax payments and could finance their expenditures. A wide-spread practice was to denominate bills not in money, but in commodity pieces, what naturally resulted (similarly to barter relations) in de facto discounting of tax obligations occurring at the background of high inflation rates.
The second wave of bills issued by banks and often guaranteed by the Finance Ministry, as well as local and regional administration gave rise to more complex offset chains, which included federal ministries responsible for government procurement (for instance, the Defense Ministry). Over a certain period, these bills were also used for tax payments and expenditures of municipal and regional budgets.
A similarly widespread practice is to settle with arrears related to tax payments due to local budgets with goods and services. There is a large number of examples of such practices across Russia’s regions. However, they entail a number of negative consequences. First, these operations are insufficiently transparent.
Second, the discounting of tax obligations in the process of the circulation of money surrogates (bills issued by enterprises, banks, regional and town administrations) apparently results in budgetary losses. The real values of transfers made in the form of money surrogates or in kind to budget recipients is always below their nominal values. The same may be applied to the budget administration.
Third, the resort to offsets carried out along a predetermined chain deteriorates the structure of budgetary expenditures, since governmental agencies are in fact made to finance exactly those budget items, whose recipients participate in the chain of offsets.
Fourth, offsets create incentives to accumulate arrears in order to repay them later via instruments allowing to discount tax obligations.
Fifth, offsets render the mechanism of financing of budgetary expenditures less transparent, thus facilitating corruption.
1 The author argues that non-payments would become extinct in a natural way in case the state took a tougher stand toward the reforming of enterprises.
2 The authors base on the data provided by Goskomstat and World Bank.
3 This phenomenon was studied by Polterovich (1999), who lists such a behavior of economic agents among institutional traps. The relation between the accumulated indebtedness and the propensity for its accumulation is mentioned by Calvo and Coricelli (1994), who introduce the concept of payment arrears costs; the authors assume that the more debts the firms have, the more they are inclined to further accumulate their indebtedness.
4 This point of view is supported by Drebentsov and Morozov (2000).
5 See, for instance, Volkonski, Kantorovich (1995).
6 See, for instance, Rostowski (1993), Klepach (1997), Entov et al. (1998), Alekseev (1998), Ivanova and Wyplosz (1999), Lugovoi, Semenov (2000).
7 The problem of monopolists resorting to non-monetary types of transactions was studied in Guriev, Kvasov (1999). The authors argued that these instruments might be used for the purposes of price discrimination.
8 See: Lugovoi, Semenov (2000)
9 especially in case the dynamics of the risk component of these obligations (assumed to be at zero in developed economies) are disregarded.
10 For deduction of the relationship between real interest rates and expected inflation see Lugovoi (1998).
11 For details see: Bessonov, 1998, 2000. The indices presented in the paper reflect the dynamics of changes in prices and output volumes of finished, end (processing-intensive) products relatively to raw materials. The “Index of qualitative changes in producer prices” reflects the relative changes in the price structure of the domestic market as concerns different commodity groups (“raw materials” and “finished (processing-intensive) products”).
12 The authors are especially gratefult to V. P. Nosko for the consultations on the econometric analysis.
13 The available Goskomstat statistics also permit to analyze non-payments outside this sector. In case industrial data were unavailable for certain periods, they were evaluated basing on the information about overdue indebtedness across a wider range of sectors on the assumption that the sectoral structure of non-payments was constant.
14 In 1995 this distribution of quarterly targets was approximately linear.
15 The situation where actual budgetary expenditures are below targets may be defined as a sequester of budgetary expenditures even if it was not announced officially.
16 In spite of the rejection of the hypothesis about the stability of coefficients it was attempted to combine the data from different periods to test the statistical significance and the trend of the relationship for the whole period under observation.
17 V. M. Zubov “Ot neplatezhei k razvitiyu.” 1999.
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