IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jpolmo/v42y2020i1p192-204.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Financial Crisis and Sustainability of US Fiscal Deficit: Indicators or Tests?

Author

Listed:
  • Canofari, Paolo
  • Marini, Giancarlo
  • Piergallini, Alessandro

Abstract

Whether or not budgetary policies are sustainable and can be conducted without creating the potential for government bankruptcy is a central question for macroeconomic analysis. In this paper, we show that indicators and tests to assess government solvency should not be used alternatively. We lay out a simple and intuitive procedure to integrate simultaneously the results from the two approaches to fiscal sustainability. Indicators are forward looking, for they are based on published forecasts, thus reacting to a set of current and expected future conditions in fiscal-policy making. Tests, by contrast, are backward looking, for they are based on a sample of past data. In the event of conflicting results, indicators may signal the occurrence of a structural change in policy, which may reverse the predictions of tests. Whether the results from indicators or from tests should be given priority in the assessment of the sustainability of public debt will thus depend on the structural stability of the historical data generating process of the primary surplus. Only in the absence of a structural break in the stance of fiscal policy, the potential warning predictions of fiscal indicators should be interpreted as merely reflecting transitory factors to be eventually reversed. An application to U.S. post-World War II historical data, from 1948 to 2016, and forecasts, from 2017 to 2027, demonstrates the empirical relevance of the proposed comprehensive approach and helps add new insights to the evaluation of the U.S. fiscal position. In particular, our results suggest that the potentially unsustainable course of U.S. fiscal policy from 2008 onwards, advocated by the use of fiscal indicators, reflects systematic—not cyclical—factors. The main policy implication is that deficit increases in the U.S. from 2008 onwards cannot be regarded as a transitory phenomenon and hence do entail an urgent need for a structural change in the future stance of budgetary policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Canofari, Paolo & Marini, Giancarlo & Piergallini, Alessandro, 2020. "Financial Crisis and Sustainability of US Fiscal Deficit: Indicators or Tests?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 192-204.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jpolmo:v:42:y:2020:i:1:p:192-204
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpolmod.2019.09.004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016189381930122X
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jpolmod.2019.09.004?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aldama, Pierre & Creel, Jérôme, 2019. "Fiscal policy in the US: Sustainable after all?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 471-479.
    2. Ms. Jocelyn Horne, 1991. "Indicators of Fiscal Sustainability," IMF Working Papers 1991/005, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Mauro, Paolo & Romeu, Rafael & Binder, Ariel & Zaman, Asad, 2015. "A modern history of fiscal prudence and profligacy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 55-70.
    4. Bertola, Giuseppe & Drazen, Allan, 1993. "Trigger Points and Budget Cuts: Explaining the Effects of Fiscal Austerity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 11-26, March.
    5. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Ostry, Jonathan D., 2008. "International evidence on fiscal solvency: Is fiscal policy "responsible"?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1081-1093, September.
    6. Atish R. Ghosh & Jun I. Kim & Enrique G. Mendoza & Jonathan D. Ostry & Mahvash S. Qureshi, 2013. "Fiscal Fatigue, Fiscal Space and Debt Sustainability in Advanced Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 4-30, February.
    7. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
    8. repec:cbo:report:523702 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Louise M. Sheiner, 2017. "Federal Budget Policy with an Aging Population and Persistently Low Interest Rates," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 175-194, Summer.
    10. International Monetary Fund, 2009. "The State of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor; November 2009," IMF Staff Position Notes 2009/25, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Balassone, F. & Cunha, J. & Langenus, G. & Manzke, B. & Pavot, J. & Prammer, D. & Tommasino, P., 2008. "Fiscal sustainability and policy implications for the euro area," Working papers 225, Banque de France.
    12. Piergallini, Alessandro & Postigliola, Michele, 2013. "Non-linear budgetary policies: Evidence from 150 years of Italian public finance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 495-498.
    13. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "The Sustainability of Government Deficits: Implications of the Present-Value Borrowing Constraint," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 291-306, August.
    14. Legrenzi, Gabriella & Milas, Costas, 2013. "Modelling the fiscal reaction functions of the GIPS based on state-varying thresholds," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 384-389.
    15. Congressional Budget Office, 2017. "An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027," Reports 52801, Congressional Budget Office.
    16. Alesina, Alberto & Drazen, Allan, 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1170-1188, December.
    17. Charles Wyplosz, 2011. "Debt Sustainability Assessment: Mission Impossible," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(3).
    18. repec:cbo:report:523701 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Congressional Budget Office, 2017. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2017 to 2027," Reports 52370, Congressional Budget Office.
    20. D’Erasmo, P. & Mendoza, E.G. & Zhang, J., 2016. "What is a Sustainable Public Debt?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2493-2597, Elsevier.
    21. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E, 1991. "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 206-223, May.
    22. Andrews, Donald W K, 1993. "Tests for Parameter Instability and Structural Change with Unknown Change Point," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 821-856, July.
    23. Olivier Jean Blanchard, 1990. "Suggestions for a New Set of Fiscal Indicators," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 79, OECD Publishing.
    24. Sarno, Lucio, 2001. "The behavior of US public debt: a nonlinear perspective," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 119-125, December.
    25. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E., 1988. "Common trends, the government's budget constraint, and revenue smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 425-444.
    26. Mr. Nigel A Chalk & Mr. Richard Hemming, 2000. "Assessing Fiscal Sustainability in Theory and Practice," IMF Working Papers 2000/081, International Monetary Fund.
    27. Canofari, Paolo & Piergallini, Alessandro & Piersanti, Giovanni, 2020. "The Fallacy Of Fiscal Discipline," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 55-68, January.
    28. Iva Petrova & Nazim Belhocine & Miss Gabriela Dobrescu & Mr. Emanuele Baldacci, 2011. "Assessing Fiscal Stress," IMF Working Papers 2011/100, International Monetary Fund.
    29. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    30. Hamilton, James D & Flavin, Marjorie A, 1986. "On the Limitations of Government Borrowing: A Framework for EmpiricalTesting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 808-819, September.
    31. Hansen, Bruce E, 1997. "Approximate Asymptotic P Values for Structural-Change Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(1), pages 60-67, January.
    32. Jingwen Fan & Michael G. Arghyrou, 2013. "Uk Fiscal Policy Sustainability, 1955–2006," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81(6), pages 961-991, December.
    33. Andrews, Donald W K & Ploberger, Werner, 1994. "Optimal Tests When a Nuisance Parameter Is Present Only under the Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1383-1414, November.
    34. Georgios Chortareas & George Kapetanios & Merih Uctum, 2008. "Nonlinear Alternatives to Unit Root Tests and Public Finances Sustainability: Some Evidence from Latin American and Caribbean Countries," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(5), pages 645-663, October.
    35. Andrea Cipollini & Bassam Fattouh & Kostas Mouratidis, 2009. "Fiscal Readjustments In The United States: A Nonlinear Time‐Series Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 34-54, January.
    36. Bohn, Henning, 1995. "The Sustainability of Budget Deficits in a Stochastic Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 257-271, February.
    37. Marina Azzimonti & Eva de Francisco & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2014. "Financial Globalization, Inequality, and the Rising Public Debt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2267-2302, August.
    38. Leeper, Eric M. & Li, Bing, 2017. "Surplus–debt regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 10-15.
    39. Polito, Vito & Wickens, Mike, 2012. "A model-based indicator of the fiscal stance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 526-551.
    40. Daniel, Betty C. & Shiamptanis, Christos, 2013. "Pushing the limit? Fiscal policy in the European Monetary Union," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2307-2321.
    41. Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Piergallini, Alessandro & Postigliola, Michele, 2020. "Evaluating the sustainability of Italian public finances," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hyejin Ko, 2020. "Measuring fiscal sustainability in the welfare state: fiscal space as fiscal sustainability," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 531-554, May.
    2. Giancarlo Marini & Alessandro Piergallini, 2008. "Indicators and Tests of Fiscal Sustainability: An Integrated Approach," CEIS Research Paper 111, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 11 Jul 2008.
    3. Aldama, Pierre & Creel, Jérôme, 2019. "Fiscal policy in the US: Sustainable after all?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 471-479.
    4. D’Erasmo, P. & Mendoza, E.G. & Zhang, J., 2016. "What is a Sustainable Public Debt?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2493-2597, Elsevier.
    5. Beqiraj, Elton & Fedeli, Silvia & Forte, Francesco, 2018. "Public debt sustainability: An empirical study on OECD countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 238-248.
    6. Chen, Shyh-Wei & Wu, An-Chi, 2018. "Is there a bubble component in government debt? New international evidence," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 467-486.
    7. María del Carmen Ramos-Herrera & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero, 2020. "Fiscal Sustainability in Aging Societies: Evidence from Euro Area Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(24), pages 1-20, December.
    8. Piergallini, Alessandro & Postigliola, Michele, 2013. "Non-linear budgetary policies: Evidence from 150 years of Italian public finance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 495-498.
    9. Markus Reischmann, 2016. "Empirische Studien zu Staatsverschuldung und fiskalischen Transferzahlungen," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 63, August.
    10. Jakob Korbinian Eberl, 2016. "The Collateral Framework of the Eurosystem and Its Fiscal Implications," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 69, August.
    11. Paniagua, Jordi & Sapena, Juan & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2017. "Fiscal sustainability in EMU countries: A continued fiscal commitment?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 85-97.
    12. Abderrahim Chibi & Sidi Mohamed Chekouri & Mohamed Benbouziane, 2015. "Assessing Fiscal Sustainability in Algeria: a Nonlinear Approach," Working Papers 962, Economic Research Forum, revised Oct 2015.
    13. Canofari, Paolo & Piergallini, Alessandro & Piersanti, Giovanni, 2020. "The Fallacy Of Fiscal Discipline," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 55-68, January.
    14. Lankester-Campos, Valerie & Loaiza-Marín, Kerry & Monge-Badilla, Carlos, 2020. "Assessing public debt sustainability for Costa Rica using the fiscal reaction function," Latin American Journal of Central Banking (previously Monetaria), Elsevier, vol. 1(1).
    15. Philip Arestis & Andrea Cipollini & Bassam Fattouh, 2004. "Threshold Effects in the U.S. Budget Deficit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 214-222, April.
    16. Niklas Potrafke & Markus Reischmann, 2015. "Fiscal Transfers and Fiscal Sustainability," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(5), pages 975-1005, August.
    17. Magazzino, Cosimo & Brady, Gordon L. & Forte, Francesco, 2019. "A panel data analysis of the fiscal sustainability of G-7 countries," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    18. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca & Rafał Trzeciakowski, 2015. "Windfall of Low Interest Payments and Fiscal Sustainability in the Euro Area: Analysis through Panel Fiscal Reaction Functions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 475-510, November.
    19. Helmut Herwartz & Malte Rengel, 2018. "Size-corrected inference in fiscal policy reaction functions: a three country assessment," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 391-416, September.
    20. Park, Danbee & Sung, Taeyoon, 2020. "Foreign debt, global liquidity, and fiscal sustainability," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal sustainability; Fiscal indicators; Tests of government solvency; Structural change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jpolmo:v:42:y:2020:i:1:p:192-204. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505735 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505735 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.