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How cyclical do cyclically-adjusted balances remain? An EU study

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  • Enrique Alberola

    ()
    (Banco de España)

  • José M. González Mínguez

    (Banco de España)

  • Pablo Hernández de Cos

    (Banco de España)

  • José M. Marqués

    ()
    (Banco de España)

Abstract

Observed budget balances are an imperfect indicator of the fiscal policy stance, because fluctuations in economic activity induce automatic changes in the balance, hence the use of cyclically-adjusted balances (CAB). However, this paper shows that CABs (as measured through one of the two methods currently used by the Commission) tend to be systematically overestimated during downturns and underestimated during expansions. The dominant source of this distortion arises from the filtering of revenues deemed to be cyclical, possibly signalling a problem with the computation of elasticities. The effect of the items which are assumed not to move with the cycle is non significant, but this overall result conceals offseting effects: public investment turns to be significantly procyclical and interest payments and transfers to firms are countercyclical. Classification-JEL : H6, E6.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by IEF in its journal Hacienda Pública Española/Revista de Economía Pública.

Volume (Year): 166 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 151-181

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Handle: RePEc:hpe:journl:y:2003:v:166:i:3:p:151-181

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Keywords: . cyclically adjusted balances; fiscal policy; EU.;

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  1. Paul van den Noord, 2000. "The Size and Role of Automatic Fiscal Stabilizers in the 1990s and Beyond," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 230, OECD Publishing.
  2. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
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Cited by:
  1. Serhan Cevik & Katerina Teksoz, 2014. "Deep Roots of Fiscal Behavior," IMF Working Papers 14/45, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Jef Vuchelen & Jesse De Wit, 2008. "An Evaluation of the OECD Cyclically-Adjusted Primary Government Balance Forecasts," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 51(4), pages 459-479.

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