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Automatic Fiscal Stabilisers: Implications for New Zealand

  • Julie Tam
  • Heather Kirkham


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    Automatic fiscal stabilisers, or the cyclical components of the budget balance, are larger in New Zealand than in the average OECD country, reflecting both higher sensitivity to the conomic cycle, and a more volatile cycle. Fiscal vigilance is especially important in New Zealand. Large projected operating surpluses could easily disappear if lower economic outcomes are mistakenly assumed to be cyclical. But, automatic stabilisers are difficult to use in a policy framework as empirical estimates of the cyclical budget balance vary significantly. While the estimated trend in automatic stabilisers is broadly similar, the level varies significantly, such that at any point in time a 'structural surplus' may be dependant on the estimation method.

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    Paper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 01/10.

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    Length: 25 pages
    Date of creation: 2000
    Date of revision: 2001
    Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:01/10
    Note: An earlier draft of this paper was prepared by Julie Tam in 2000, and has been updated by Heather Kirkham.
    Contact details of provider: Postal: New Zealand Treasury, PO Box 3724, Wellington, New Zealand
    Phone: +64-4-472 2733
    Fax: +64-4-473 0982
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    1. Koehler, Anne & Diebold, Francis X. & Giogianni, Lorenzo & Inoue, Atsushi, 1996. "Software review," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 309-315, June.
    2. Darrel Cohen & Glenn Follette, 2000. "The automatic fiscal stabilizers: quietly doing their thing," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 35-67.
    3. Guay, A & St-Amant, P, 1996. "Do Mechanical Filters Provide a Good Approximation of Business Cycles?," Technical Reports 78, Bank of Canada.
    4. Goff, Brian, 1998. " Persistence in Government Spending Fluctuations: New Evidence on the Displacement Effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 141-57, October.
    5. Karras, Georgios & Song, Frank, 1996. "Sources of business-cycle volatility: An exploratory study on a sample of OECD countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 621-637.
    6. Christina D. Romer, 1999. "Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 6948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jean-Claude Chouraqui & Robert P. Hagemann & Nicola Sartor, 1990. "Indicators of Fiscal Policy: A Re-Examination," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 78, OECD Publishing.
    8. Pesaran, B. & Robinson, G. N., 1997. "Optimal funding rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 329-345.
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