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Fiscal fragility: what the past may say about the future

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  • Aizenman, Joshua
  • Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur

Abstract

The end of the great moderation has profound implications on the assessment of fiscalsustainability. The pertinent issue goes beyond the increase in stock of public debt/GDP inducedby the global recession, to include the perspective that the sustainability of a given publicdebt/GDP depends on the future volatility of the difference between real interest rates and GDPgrowth rate. For a given future projected public debt/GDP, we evaluate the possible distributionof the fiscal burden of debt for each OECD country, based on the historical realizations of thereal interest rate and GDP growth differential. Fiscal projections may be alarmist if one jumpsfrom the prior of low fiscal burdens that prevailed during great moderation to the prior ofpermanent high future burden. Yet, the importance of both real interest rate and the GDP growthrate in determining the actual debt burdens as well as the range of scenarios faced by OECDcountries in the past suggests that countries exposed to heightened vulnerability may considerboth short term stabilization (i.e., fiscal stimulus to support the recovery) and forward lookingfiscal reforms (i.e. fiscal tightening to stabilize the debt dynamics).

Suggested Citation

  • Aizenman, Joshua & Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur, 2010. "Fiscal fragility: what the past may say about the future," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7mf244m2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt7mf244m2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    3. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1981. "The real interest rate: An empirical investigation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 151-200, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stoian, Andreea & Obreja Brasoveanu, Laura & Dumitrescu, Bogdan & Brasoveanu, Iulian, 2015. "A new framework for detecting the short term fiscal vulnerability for the European Union countries," MPRA Paper 63537, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2010. "De facto Fiscal Space and Fiscal Stimulus: Definition and Assessment," NBER Working Papers 16539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua Aizenman & Yothin Jinjarak, 2012. "The Fiscal Stimulus of 2009-2010: Trade Openness, Fiscal Space, and Exchange Rate Adjustment," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 301-342.
    4. Török, Ádám, 2011. "Intézményépítés a túlzott államadósság elleni védekezés érdekében
      [Building institutions to guard against excessive state debt]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 577-591.
    5. Andreea Stoian & Filip Iorgulescu, 2016. "The study of public debt: which are the distinctions between the emerging and advanced economies in the European Union?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(1), pages 167-196, February.
    6. Aizenman, Joshua & Pasricha, Gurnain Kaur, 2011. "Net Fiscal Stimulus During The Great Recession," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8df5z6j8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    7. Aizenman, Joshua & Jinjarak, Yothin, 2011. "The Fiscal Stimulus of 2009-10: Trade Openness, Fiscal Space and Exchange Rate Adjustment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1vm5d1p4, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    8. Joshua Aizenman & Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, 2013. "Special Issue. Guest Editor: Zhihao Yu," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(3), pages 397-413, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; flow burden of public debt; fiscal vulnerability;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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