This study analyzes the World Bank's experience with fiscal management in 250 adjustment operations in 86 countries. It examines the fiscal records in a sample of 26 countries grouped by region, portfolio characteristics, and economic traits. The study confirms that fiscal deficit reduction is associated with improved external balances and economic growth and that it takes sustained, long-term effort, and continual vigilance against reversals. Fiscal mismanagement, not exogenous shocks, was the principal cause of persistent budget deficits. The study offers the following recommendations for the Bank and its borrowers:1) Estimate the level of the sustainable deficit and provide guidelines for achieving it in Bank economic and sector work and adjustment lending. 2) Improve sequencing of tax reform. 3) Consider explicitly the role of the state and the appropriate mix of public/private provision of services in recommending public expenditure reform. 4) Include poverty alleviation and equity objectives in public expenditure reform. 5) Build adequate monitoring and performance indicators for both tax and expenditure reforms. 6) Enhance Bank-Fund coordination, in support of the Fund's lead role in giving fiscal advice, by strengthening the Bank's ability to analyze taxes and expenditures.