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Geert Langenus

1 September 2001
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 77
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Abstract
Estimates of cyclically-adjusted budget balances, correcting actual government budget balances for business cycle fluctuations, are produced by many institutions, including the European Commission, the IMF and the OECD. This paper presents an alternative approach for the cyclical adjustment of budget balances. The approach is based on a disaggregated method for the calculation of the cyclical component of the budget balance. In this approach, the effects of changes in the structure of demand and national income on government revenue and expenditure are captured. Cases where the various macroeconomic bases are in different phases of the cycle or exhibit fluctuations of different magnitude are taken into account in this way. The computation of the cyclical components of these macroeconomic bases is based on the Hodrick-Prescott filter and takes into account the latest evidence presented in the literature about the properties of this filter. The paper also presents new estimates of the elasticities of individual budget items with respect to the relevant macroeconomic variables. The method is used within the ESCB for the estimation of cyclically adjusted budget balances of the EU countries
JEL Code
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E60 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→General
Annexes
8 September 2005
ANNEX
16 January 2006
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 579
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Abstract
In this paper, we present a disaggregated framework for the analysis of past and projected structural developments in the most relevant revenue and expenditure categories and the fiscal balance. The framework, in particular, distinguishes between the effects of discretionary fiscal policy and of macroeconomic and other developments and is sufficiently standardised to be used in multi-country studies. Here, it is applied to Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal over the period 1998 to 2004. During this period the structural primary balance ratio clearly worsened in all countries except Finland. In Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, both revenue and expenditure contributed to the deterioration of the structural primary balance. In Germany the large deterioration in revenue was partially offset by the decline in the structural primary expenditure ratio, while the opposite was true for Portugal. The analysis highlights the various factors that contributed to these developments.
JEL Code
H20 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→General
H50 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies→General
H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General
E69 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Other
14 January 2009
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 994
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Abstract
In this paper we examine the sustainability of euro area public finances against the backdrop of population ageing. We critically assess the widely used projections of the Working Group on Ageing Populations (AWG) of the EU's Economic Policy Committee and argue that ageing costs may be higher than projected in the AWG reference scenario. Taking into account adjusted headline estimates for ageing costs, largely based upon the sensitivity analysis carried out by the AWG, we consider alternative indicators to quantify sustainability gaps for euro area countries. With respect to the policy implications, we assess the appropriateness of different budgetary strategies to restore fiscal sustainability taking into account intergenerational equity. Our stylised analysis based upon the lifetime contribution to the government's primary balance of different generations suggests that an important degree of pre-funding of the ageing costs is necessary to avoid shifting the burden of adjustment in a disproportionate way to future generations. For many euro area countries this implies that the medium-term targets defined in the context of the revised stability and growth pact would ideally need to be revised upwards to significant surpluses.
JEL Code
H55 : Public Economics→National Government Expenditures and Related Policies→Social Security and Public Pensions
H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General
Annexes
15 January 2009
ANNEX