Taxation, government spending and economic growth: The case of Bulgaria

Gancho Ganchev, Ivan Todorov


The objective of this article is to estimate the impact of three fiscal instruments (direct taxes, indirect taxes, and government expenditure) on Bulgaria’s economic growth. The study employs an autoregressive distributed lag model (ARDL) and Eurostat quarterly seasonally adjusted data for the period 1999–2020. Four control variables (the shares of gross capital formation, household consumption, and exports in GDP as well as the economic growth in the euro area) are included in the model to account for the influence of non-fiscal factors on Bulgaria’s real GDP growth rate. The empirical results indicate a long-run equilibrium relationship between Bulgaria’s economic growth and the independent variables in the ARDL. In the short term, Bulgaria’s real GDP growth rate is affected by its own past values and the previous values of the shares of direct tax revenue, exports, government consumption, and indirect tax revenue in GDP. In the long term, Bulgaria’s economic growth is influenced by its own previous values and the past values of the share of household consumption in GDP and the euro area’s real GDP growth rate. Fiscal instruments can be used to stabilize Bulgaria’s growth in the short run but they are neutral in the long run. The direct tax revenue, government consumption, and indirect tax revenue are highly effective and can be used as tools for invigorating and stabilizing Bulgaria’s economic growth in the short run. However, in the long term, the real GDP growth rate can be hastened only by encouraging domestic demand (final consumption expenditure of households) and promoting exports. This research cannot answer the question of whether flat income taxation stabilizes the economy or not, since it does not separate the impact of tax rate changes from the influence of tax base modifications.

For citation

Ganchev G., Todorov I. Taxation, government spending and economic growth: The case of Bulgaria. Journal of Tax Reform. 2021;7(3):255–266.

Article info

Received February 24, 2021; Revised April 4, 2021; Accepted December 7, 2021


Bulgaria, taxation, government spending, economic growth, autoregressive distributed lag model


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