The long term impact of structural economic change on government spending
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Botswana's current economic objectives centre on diversification away from its historical dependence on diamonds and government. Such diversification will change the structure of the economy and has important implications for the ability of government to raise revenue trough taxation and therefore for its ability to finance its expenditure. This paper explores the likely impact of diversification on government's revenue raising ability and hence on the magnitude of its size of government. The key point is that any diversification will cause government revenues to fall in relative terms. The diamond sector is extremely profitable and those profits are taxed at a very high rate: as the economy diversifies other sectors will emerge that will be less profitable and less highly taxed. The projections in this paper show that under a variety of different assumptions about sectoral growth rates and taxation and spending. Government will have to significantly reduce its role in the economy. Such a change will have major implications for choices to be made about the allocation of public expenditure.