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A Balance-Sheet Approach to Fiscal Sustainability

Author

Listed:
  • Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo

    (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella and World Bank)

  • Sturzenegger, Federico

    (Harvard U and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella)

Abstract

Recent empirical research on emerging markets debt, currency crises and fiscal sustainability has placed a significant focus on the role of currency mismatches with the emphasis placed on the currency composition of explicit government liabilities. The key insight of this paper is that these liabilities, while relevant, usually represent a small share of actual government liabilities: indeed, as an indicator of fiscal solvency, they are relatively uninformative – and possibly misleading – if not matched with the remaining liabilities (promises of wage and pension payments among others) and the asset side of the government’s balance sheet: financial and real government assets as well as the present value of future tax collection. These non-debt liabilities and assets may be affected by changes in the real exchange rate in a way that dwarfs the effect on the explicit liabilities which are typically the focus of attention. With this in mind, this paper proposes a balance-sheet approach that, as illustrated by the practical applications included here, may radically alter the results from traditional sustainability evaluations – and, more generally, the perception of a country’s fiscal vulnerability.

Suggested Citation

  • Levy-Yeyati, Eduardo & Sturzenegger, Federico, 2007. "A Balance-Sheet Approach to Fiscal Sustainability," Working Paper Series rwp07-044, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp07-044
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    File URL: https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=4993&type=WPN
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Márcio Gomes Pinto Garcia & Roberto Rigobon, 2004. "A Risk Management Approach to Emerging Market’s Sovereign Debt Sustainability with an Application to Brazilian Data," Textos para discussão 484, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    2. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Happy News from the Dismal Science: Reassessing the Japanese Fiscal Policy and Sustainability," NBER Working Papers 10988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. P. Marcelo Oviedo & Enrique Mendoza, 2004. "Public Debt, Fiscal Solvency, and Macroeconomic Uncertainty in Emerging Markets: The Tale of the Tormented Insurer," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 647, Econometric Society.
    4. Alejandro Izquierdo & Ernesto Talvi & Guillermo A. Calvo, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability: Argentina's Lessons," Research Department Publications 4299, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Kevin Cowan & Eduardo Levy Yeyati & Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Sovereign Debt In The Americas: New Data and Stylized Facts," Business School Working Papers 2006-09, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    6. Alejandro Izquierdo, 2002. "Sudden Stops, the Real Exchange Rate and Fiscal Sustainability in Argentina," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(7), pages 903-923, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pradhan, Krishanu, 2014. "Assessment of India's fiscal and external sector vulnerability: A balance sheet approach," Working Papers 327, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P43 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Finance; Public Finance
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems

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