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The Requirements for Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability

New Zealand, like many other countries, is experiencing a changing demographic profile from one dominated by young people during the 20th century to one where the population is more evenly distributed across age groups. This has implications for the economy and society, including the government's fiscal position in the future and for the sustainability of its spending programmes. This paper discusses the link between the government budget constraint and fiscal sustainability, how fiscal sustainability can be measured and why it’s important. We also examine the Treasury’s current approach to modelling the extent of fiscal adjustment required and options available to achieve this adjustment. The paper proposes criteria to evaluate potential policy changes to address these long-term fiscal challenges and suggests areas where further work could be worthwhile.

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Paper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 13/20.

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Length: 53
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:13/20
Contact details of provider: Postal: New Zealand Treasury, PO Box 3724, Wellington, New Zealand
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  1. Robert Buckle & Kunhong Kim & Julie Tam, 2002. "A structural var approach to estimating budget balance targets," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 149-175.
  2. Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller & Ismael Sanz, 2011. "The Timing and Persistence of Fiscal Policy Impacts on Growth: Evidence from OECD Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F33-F58, February.
  3. Balazs Egert & Tomasz Kozluk & Douglas Sutherland, 2009. "Infrastructure and Growth: Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 2700, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Vincent R. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2012. "Debt Overhangs: Past and Present," NBER Working Papers 18015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Baum, Anja & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Rother, Philipp, 2012. "Debt and growth: new evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 1450, European Central Bank.
  6. Thomas Herndon & Michael Ash & Robert Pollin, 2013. "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogo ff," Working Papers wp322, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  7. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  9. Kevin Hoskin & Ian Nield & Jeremy Richardson, 2009. "The Reserve Bank's new liquidity policy for banks," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 72, pages 5-18, December.
  10. Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2010. "Growth in a Time of Debt," CEPR Discussion Papers 7661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Vincent Reinhart & Brian Sack, 2000. "The Economic Consequences of Disappearing Government Debt," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(2), pages 163-220.
  12. Bohn, Henning, 2007. "Are stationarity and cointegration restrictions really necessary for the intertemporal budget constraint?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1837-1847, October.
  13. Philip R. Lane, 2013. "External imbalances and macroeconomic policy," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 53-70, April.
  14. Christopher Heady & Åsa Johansson & Jens Arnold & Bert Brys & Laura Vartia, 2009. "Tax Policy for Economic Recovery and Growth," Studies in Economics 0925, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  15. John Creedy, Jamas Enright, Norman Gemmell & Angela Mellish, 2009. "Population Ageing and Taxation in New Zealand," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1078, The University of Melbourne.
  16. Inci Ötker & Aditya Narain & Anna Ilyina & Jay Surti, 2011. "The Too-Important-to-Fail Conundrum: Impossible to Ignore and Difficult to Resolve," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 11/12, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Jaejoon Woo & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2010. "Public Debt and Growth," IMF Working Papers 10/174, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 1. How Much is Needed and How to Reduce Debt to a Prudent Level?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 932, OECD Publishing.
  19. Felicity C Barker & Robert A Buckle & Robert W St Clair, 2008. "Roles of Fiscal Policy in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 08/02, New Zealand Treasury.
  20. Matthew Bell & Gary Blick & Oscar Parkyn & Paul Rodway & Polly Vowles, 2010. "Challenges and Choices: Modelling New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Position," Treasury Working Paper Series 10/01, New Zealand Treasury.
  21. Rossana Merola & Douglas Sutherland, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 3. Long-Run Projections and Fiscal Gap Calculations," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 934, OECD Publishing.
  22. Sebastian Schich & Sofia Lindh, 2012. "Implicit guarantees for bank debt: where do we stand?," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2012(1), pages 45-63.
  23. Craig Burnside, 2013. "New Zealand's risk premium," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 27-52, April.
  24. Ismael Sanz, 2011. "What Do OECD Countries Cut First When Faced with Fiscal Adjustments?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 753-775, January.
  25. Jonathan David Ostry & Atish R. Ghosh & Jun Il Kim & Mahvash Saeed Qureshi, 2010. "Fiscal Space," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/11, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Anne-Marie Brook, 2013. "Making fiscal policy more stabilising in the next upturn: Challenges and policy options," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 71-94, April.
  27. Christie Smith & Viv Hall & John Janssen, 2013. "New Zealand's macroeconomic imbalances -- causes and remedies: Guest editors' introduction," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 1-7, April.
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