Government expenditure and revenue Scotland (GERS): a look beyond nearly 30 years of controversy at what it does and doesn't tell us about Scotland

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Abstract

Government Expenditure Revenue Scotland (GERS) remains a controversial statistical publication on Scotland's public finances. We trace the evolution of GERS over time, and track how it has been used in political debate since it was first published in 1992. Now in its 27th edition, we review its ongoing role in informing constitutional and fiscal debate in Scotland. We dispel some of the myths about the publication, but also highlight legitimate criticisms, and explore how it is used by both sides in the independence debate. Our main contribution is to summarise what GERS tells us - and crucially what it does not tell us - about the state of Scotland's economy and public finances. We conclude with an assessment of what GERS might tell us about the prospects for any future debate on Scottish independence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-449
Number of pages27
JournalScottish Affairs
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Keywords

  • GERS
  • budget
  • taxation
  • public spending
  • independence
  • North Sea oil

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