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Indicators for Measuring Fiscal Sustainability: A Comparison of the OECD Method and Generational Accounting

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  • Ulrich Benz
  • Stefan Fetzer

Abstract

Based on an empirical application for Germany, we compare two methods of measuring fiscal sustainability: the generational-accounting approach and the OECD method. In a first step, we show that the two methods can be transformed into one another. Hence, the indicators of generational accounting can be used for the OECD method and vice versa, thus enlarging the set of sustainability indicators for both methods. In a second step, we discuss these indicators with respect to their theoretical deficiencies, tangibility, and sensitivity. Finally, we come to the conclusion that a combination of indicators stemming from both approaches can give a more general and understandable description of fiscal sustainability and satisfy a strictly defined condition of sustainability at the same time.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Benz & Stefan Fetzer, 2006. "Indicators for Measuring Fiscal Sustainability: A Comparison of the OECD Method and Generational Accounting," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(3), pages 367-391, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200609)62:3_367:ifmfsa_2.0.tx_2-i
    DOI: 10.1628/001522106X153428
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Auerbach, Alan J & Gokhale, Jagadeesh & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. " Generational Accounting: A New Approach to Understanding the Effects of Fiscal Policy on Saving," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(2), pages 303-318.
    3. António Afonso, 2005. "Fiscal Sustainability: The Unpleasant European Case," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(1), pages 1-19, March.
    4. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jabłonowski, Janusz & Müller, Christoph & Raffelhüschen, Bernd, 2010. "A fiscal outlook for Poland using generational accounts," FZG Discussion Papers 47, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    2. Christian Hagist & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Alf Erling Risa & Erling Vårdal, 2013. "Long-Term Fiscal Effects of Public Pension Reform in Norway – A Generational Accounting Analysis," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 38, pages 1-2.
    3. Benz Ulrich & Hagist Christian, 2008. "Konjunktur und Generationenbilanz – eine Analyse anhand des HP-Filters / Business Cycle Effects on Generational Accounting – An Analysis using the HP-Filter," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(4), pages 299-316, August.
    4. Christian Hagist & Stefan Moog & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Johannes Vatter, 2009. "Public Debt and Demography - An International Comparison Using Generational Accounting," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(4), pages 29-36, 01.
    5. Cirsten Roppel & Ulrich Roppel, 2012. "Generative Einkommensverteilung und Generationenkonflikt," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 65(14), pages 26-33, July.
    6. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2011. "Herausforderungen des demografischen Wandels. Expertise im Auftrag der Bundesregierung," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75371.
    7. André Decoster & Xavier Flawinne & Pieter Vanleenhove, 2014. "Generational accounts for Belgium: fiscal sustainability at a glance," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 663-686, November.
    8. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Wirksame Begrenzung von Staatsverschuldung auf europäischer Ebene," Discussion Paper Series 114, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal sustainability; generational accounting; OECD method; sustainability indicators;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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