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Fiscal Consolidation: Part 1. How Much is Needed and How to Reduce Debt to a Prudent Level?

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  • Douglas Sutherland
  • Peter Hoeller
  • Rossana Merola

Abstract

The economic and financial crisis was the catalyst for a fiscal crisis that engulfs many OECD countries. In most countries, budget deficits soared as a result of the economic slump, weaker revenues and the policy response to the crisis. Consolidating the public finances is an important challenge for many countries. Estimates of fiscal gaps suggest that substantial and sustained fiscal tightening will be needed in nearly all countries to bring debt down to prudent levels. However, given a weak global economy, implementing a large fiscal tightening could be particularly costly. Structuring consolidation packages to use instruments with low multipliers initially and enhancing the institutional framework for fiscal policy to lend greater credibility to the commitment to consolidate over time may help minimise the trade-offs with growth in the short run. In most countries there is scope to target spending programmes more effectively and eliminate distortions in taxation and re-orientate taxation to minimise distortions. Such measures, buttressed by structural reforms, such as to unsustainable pension systems, can underpin fiscal sustainability, while minimising the costs to long-run growth. Consolidation budgétaire : Partie 1. Quel est le degré d'assainissement nécessaire et comment ramener la dette à un niveau prudent ? La crise économique et financière a servi de catalyseur pour une crise budgétaire qui engloutit de nombreux pays de l’OCDE. Dans la plupart des pays, les déficits budgétaires ont fait un bond en raison du marasme économique, de la diminution des recettes et des mesures prises en réponse à la crise. Assainir les finances publiques représente un enjeu majeur pour bon nombre de pays. Sur la base d’estimations des écarts budgétaires, il semble qu’il faudra un resserrement budgétaire important et durable dans presque tous les pays pour ramener la dette à des niveaux prudents. Cependant, compte tenu de la faiblesse de l’économie mondiale, la mise en oeuvre d’un vaste programme de restriction budgétaire pourrait être particulièrement coûteuse. Structurer les programmes de consolidation de façon à utiliser au départ des instruments à multiplicateurs faibles et, à terme, à améliorer le cadre institutionnel de la politique budgétaire afin de rendre plus crédible l’engagement à assainir les finances publiques pourrait aider à réduire au minimum les arbitrages avec la croissance dans le court terme. Dans la plupart des pays, il est possible de cibler plus efficacement les programmes de dépenses et d’éliminer les distorsions dans la fiscalité et de réorienter cette dernière afin de réduire au minimum les distorsions. Ces mesures, étayées par des réformes structurelles telles que la réforme des systèmes de retraite, qui ne sont plus tenables, peuvent soutenir la viabilité budgétaire tout en réduisant au minium les coûts pour la croissance à long terme.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 932.

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Date of creation: 10 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:932-en

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Keywords: fiscal consolidation; fiscal gaps; écarts budgétaire; consolidation budgétaire;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. L’austérité plus que toujours en question
    by jcbriquet in Ressources pour économistes on 2012-04-17 11:32:27
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Cited by:
  1. Robert A Buckle & Amy A Cruickshank, 2013. "The Requirements for Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability," Treasury Working Paper Series 13/20, New Zealand Treasury.
  2. Panizza, Ugo & Presbitero, Andrea F., 2012. "Public debt and economic growth: Is there a causal effect?," POLIS Working Papers, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS 168, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  3. Athanasios O. Tagkalakis, 2013. "Discretionary fiscal policy and economic activity in Greece," Working Papers, Bank of Greece 169, Bank of Greece.
  4. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola & Volker Ziemann, 2012. "Debt and Macroeconomic Stability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1003, OECD Publishing.
  5. David Turner & Francesca Spinelli, 2013. "The Effect of Government Debt, External Debt and their Interaction on OECD Interest Rates," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1103, OECD Publishing.
  6. Kaja Fredriksen, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidation Across Government Levels - Part 2. Fiscal Rules for Sub-central Governments, Update of the Institutional Indicator," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1071, OECD Publishing.
  7. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: How Much, How Fast and by What Means?," OECD Economic Policy Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
  8. Rossana Merola & Douglas Sutherland, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 3. Long-Run Projections and Fiscal Gap Calculations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 934, OECD Publishing.
  9. Łukasz Rawdanowicz, 2012. "Choosing the Pace of Fiscal Consolidation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 992, OECD Publishing.
  10. Łukasz Rawdanowicz & Eckhard Wurzel & Ane Kathrine Christensen, 2013. "The Equity Implications of Fiscal Consolidation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1013, OECD Publishing.
  11. Gianluca Cafiso & Roberto Cellini, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidations and Public Debt in Europe," Working Papers 2013-35, CEPII research center.
  12. Hansjörg Blöchliger, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidation Across Government Levels - Part 1. How Much, What Policies?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1070, OECD Publishing.
  13. Randall S. Jones & Satoshi Urasawa, 2013. "Restoring Japan's Fiscal Sustainability," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1050, OECD Publishing.
  14. Boris Cournède & Antoine Goujard & Álvaro Pina, 2013. "How to Achieve Growth- and Equity-friendly Fiscal Consolidation?: A Proposed Methodology for Instrument Choice with an Illustrative Application to OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1088, OECD Publishing.
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  16. Margit Molnar, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 5. What Factors Determine the Success of Consolidation Efforts?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 936, OECD Publishing.
  17. Robert P. Hagemann, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 6. What Are the Best Policy Instruments for Fiscal Consolidation?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 937, OECD Publishing.
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