IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Costs of Delaying fiscal Consolidation: A Case Study for Greece

  • Vassiliki Koutsogeorgopoulou


  • David Turner


Registered author(s):

    Since 2004, the fiscal deficit has been brought down by over 5% of GDP to below the 3% limit in 2006, which is a major achievement. The government plans a more gradual reduction over coming years so that overall balance or surplus is reached no later than 2010. However, fiscal consolidation should continue, possibly at a more rapid pace than planned, given the high level of government debt, favourable outlook for output growth, and long-term fiscal costs of ageing which are estimated to be among the largest in the OECD. There are as yet no specific proposals to reform pensions, which account for most of the prospective ageing-related increase in public expenditure, although the government is expected to announce reforms following the publication of a report from a Committee of Experts. Delaying fiscal consolidation, particularly the urgently needed pension reform, would have substantial longer-term costs in terms of higher taxes and additional debt service costs, including an increase in the risk premium paid on government debt. In addition, this would heavily skew the tax burden towards future generations. Consolidation should focus on reducing primary spending and on enhancing tax revenues. This can be achieved particularly through increased efficiency of public administration and by measures to tackle tax evasion and further broaden the tax base. Ensuring long-run fiscal sustainability will also require the implementation of wide-ranging reforms in the key area of health care, as well as an early decision to introduce a comprehensive reform of the pension system. Les coûts d'un report de la consolidation budgétaire : une étude dans le cas de la Grèce La réduction du déficit budgétaire, ramené de 5 % du PIB en 2004 à moins de 3 % en 2006, est une réussite majeure. Les autorités prévoient une diminution plus progressive dans les prochaines années jusqu’à ce que le budget soit en équilibre ou excédentaire, au plus tard en 2010. Cependant, l’assainissement budgétaire devrait se poursuivre – peut-être à un rythme plus rapide que prévu - étant donné le niveau élevé de la dette publique, les perspectives favorables à la croissance de la production et les coûts budgétaires à long terme du vieillissement, qui sont parmi les plus élevés de la zone OCDE. Il n’est pas encore prévu d’initiatives spécifiques pour réformer les retraites, principale source de l’accroissement prévisible des dépenses publiques résultant du vieillissement, même si le gouvernement doit annoncer des mesures dans le courant de cette année. Différer l’assainissement des finances publiques, surtout la réforme des retraites qui s’impose d’urgence, entraînerait des coûts à long terme considérables sous forme d’une hausse de la fiscalité et d’un alourdissement du service de la dette, avec notamment une augmentation de la prime de risque appliquée à la dette publique. De surcroît, ceci reviendrait à transférer une lourde charge fiscale aux générations futures. Les efforts d’assainissement devraient tendre surtout à réduire les dépenses primaires et accroître les recettes fiscales. On peut y parvenir par l’amélioration de l’efficacité de l’administration publique en particulier, et en luttant contre la fraude et en prenant d’autres mesures pour élargir la base d’imposition. Pour garantir la viabilité budgétaire à long terme, il faudra aussi engager des réformes d’envergure dans le secteur clé de la santé et décider promptement de lancer une réforme complète du système de retraite.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 582.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 18 Oct 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:582-en
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

    Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
    Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:582-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.