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Budget Repair Measures: Tough Choices for Australia's Future

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  • George Kudrna
  • Chung Tran

Abstract

This study quantifies the macroeconomic and welfare effects of three proposed fiscal measures to eliminate Australian government budget deficits and to reduce public debt by 2030, namely: (i) temporary income tax hikes; (ii) temporary consumption tax hikes (increases in the GST rate); and (iii) temporary transfer payment cuts. Our quantitative analysis is based on a computable overlapping generations (OLG) model that is tailored to the Australian economy. The simulation results indicate that all three examined fiscal measures result in favourable long-run macroeconomic and welfare outcomes, but severe adverse consequences during the fiscal consolidation period. Moreover, our results show that cutting transfer payments leads to the worst welfare outcome for all generations currently alive, and especially the poor. Increasing the consumption tax rate results in smaller welfare losses, but compared to raising income taxes, the current poor households pay much larger welfare costs. Overall, the welfare trade-offs between current and future generations, as well as between the rich and poor, highlight key political constraints and point to tough policy choices for the wellbeing of future Australians.

Suggested Citation

  • George Kudrna & Chung Tran, 2015. "Budget Repair Measures: Tough Choices for Australia's Future," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2015-628, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2015-628
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp628.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Forni, Lorenzo & Gerali, Andrea & Pisani, Massimiliano, 2010. "The macroeconomics of fiscal consolidations in euro area countries," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1791-1812, September.
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    3. Jonathan Heathcote, 2005. "Fiscal Policy with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 161-188.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal De?cifit; Public Debt; Fiscal Consolidation; Welfare; Over-lapping Generations; Dynamic General Equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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