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Fiscal Consolidation Needs and Implications for Growth

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  • Sutherland, Douglas

Abstract

Public debt in the OECD area passed annual GDP in 2011 and is still rising. For many countries, just stabilising debt - let alone bringing it down to a more sustainable level - is a major challenge. The debt overhangs can affect growth through channels such as raising the cost of capital. The main focus of this paper however is the implications for growth both in the short term and in the long term of reducing debt levels. Consolidation needs are large and most of the reduction in debt will need to come from improvements in the primary balance. In the short term, the pace of consolidation needs to balance consolidation requirements with the effects of fiscal retrenchment on aggregate demand. The trade-off will depend on the choice of fiscal instrument and on the ability of monetary policy to accommodate consolidation. However, other things being equal, a slow consolidation will ultimately require more effort to meet a fixed debt target. In this context, consolidation should aim to use instruments that are friendly to long-term growth. There is scope to improve budgetary positions by reforming transfer systems, raising the efficiency of public services, eliminating certain tax expenditures and collecting additional revenues from less distortionary tax bases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38745.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38745

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Keywords: Fiscal consolidation; Growth;

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  1. Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2011. "The real effects of debt," BIS Working Papers 352, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Ray Barrell & Dawn Holland & Ian Hurst, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 2. Fiscal Multipliers and Fiscal Consolidations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 933, OECD Publishing.
  3. Dominique Guellec & Bruno Van Pottelsberghe, 2004. "From R&D to Productivity Growth: Do the Institutional Settings and the Source of Funds of R&D Matter?," Working Papers CEB 04-010.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2011. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," BIS Working Papers 363, Bank for International Settlements.
  5. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Simon Field & Nathalie Girouard, 2002. "Investment in Human Capital Through Post-Compulsory Education and Training: Selected Efficiency and Equity Aspects," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 333, OECD Publishing.
  6. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2006. "The drivers of public expenditure on health and long-term care: An integrated approach," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2006(2), pages 115-154.
  7. Thomas J. Sargent & George J. Hall, 2010. "Interest rate risk and other determinants of post WWII U.S. government debt/GDP dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," Scholarly Articles 11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Isabelle Joumard & Christophe André & Chantal Nicq, 2010. "Health Care Systems: Efficiency and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 769, OECD Publishing.
  10. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy, 2011. "Using inflation to erode the US public debt," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 524-541.
  11. Rossana Merola & Douglas Sutherland, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 3. Long-Run Projections and Fiscal Gap Calculations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 934, OECD Publishing.
  12. Alain de Serres & Fabrice Murtin & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 2010. "A Framework for Assessing Green Growth Policies," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 774, OECD Publishing.
  13. Douglas Sutherland & Robert W.R. Price & Isabelle Joumard & Chantal Nicq, 2007. "Performance Indicators for Public Spending Efficiency in Primary and Secondary Education," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 546, OECD Publishing.
  14. Pablo Antolín & Alain de Serres & Christine de la Maisonneuve, 2004. "Long-Term Budgetary Implications of Tax-Favoured Retirement Plans," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 393, OECD Publishing.
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