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Fiscal fragility: what the past may say about the future

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Gurnain Kaur Pasricha

Abstract

The end of the great moderation has profound implications on the assessment of fiscal sustainability. The pertinent issue goes beyond the obvious increase in the stock of public debt/GDP induced by the global recession, to include the neglected perspective that the vulnerabilities associated with a given public debt/GDP increase with the future volatility of key economic variables. We evaluate for a given future projected public debt/GDP, the possible distribution of the fiscal burden or the flow cost of funding debt for each OECD country, assuming that this in future decades resembles that in the past four decades. Fiscal projections may be alarmist if one jumps from the priors of great moderation to the prior of permanent high future burden. Prudent adjustment for countries exposed to heightened vulnerability may entail both short term stabilization and forward looking fiscal reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Aizenman & Gurnain Kaur Pasricha, 2010. "Fiscal fragility: what the past may say about the future," NBER Working Papers 16478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16478
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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

    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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