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Accounting for One-off Operations when Assessing Underlying Fiscal Positions

Listed author(s):
  • Isabelle Joumard


  • Makoto Minegishi


  • Christophe André


  • Chantal Nicq


  • Robert W. R. Price


Frequent recourse to large one-off operations in a number of OECD countries has undermined the accuracy of cyclically adjusted fiscal balances as a measure of both the sustainability of public finance and the fiscal stance. This paper first provides detailed information on the nature and amount of these one-offs for 9 OECD countries. The paper then presents a new indicator – the “underlying” fiscal balance – which effectively eliminates the impact of one-offs and cyclical developments. One-offs are derived as the deviations from trend in net capital transfers, i.e. from widely available national account data. This approach provides a consistent treatment of one-offs both across countries and over time, avoiding the potential information biases which could result from an individual identification of one-offs. Évaluer les positions budgétaires sous-jacentes en présence de mesures ponctuelles Le recours fréquent à des mesures ponctuelles dans certains pays de l’OCDE a rendu caduque l’utilisation du solde budgétaire corrigé des variations cycliques pour évaluer tant la soutenabilité des finances publiques que l’impact des politiques budgétaires discrétionnaires sur l’activité économique. Ce document présente des informations détaillées sur la nature et le montant de ces mesures ponctuelles pour 9 pays de l’OCDE. Il propose ensuite un nouvel indicateur – le solde budgétaire sous-jacent – qui corrige le solde budgétaire des effets des mesures ponctuelles et du cycle économique. Les mesures ponctuelles sont assimilées aux écarts à la tendance des transferts en capitaux, séries facilement disponibles dans les comptes nationaux. Cette approche assure un traitement symétrique tant entre les pays qu’au cours du temps, évitant ainsi les biais potentiels qui découleraient d’une identification individuelle des mesures ponctuelles.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 642.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 2008
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:642-en
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