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The Cyclically Adjusted Budget: History and Exegesis of a Fateful Estimate

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  • Orsola Costantini

    () (Institute for New Economic Thinking)

Abstract

This paper traces the evolution of the concept of the cyclically adjusted budget from the 1930s to the present. The idea of balancing the budget over the cycle was first conceived in Sweden in the 1930s by the economists of the Stockholm School and was soon reinterpreted and incorporated into the fiscal program of the American political coalition supporting the New Deal, especially by the Committee for Economic Development during and after World War II. In the 1960s, Keynesian economists associated with the Kennedy and Johnson administrations reformulated the notion. Despite their claims at the time, their version differed only in degree from the earlier CED approach, the transformation being largely conditioned by changing political circumstances. In the 1980s, however, the concept changed substantially. Methods for calculating it transformed dramatically, as the notion became a device to limit and direct governments' fiscal policies in a wide sense, that is, including institutional (or “structural†) reforms. The final section of the paper considers the shifting uses of the notion in the European Growth and Stability Pact.

Suggested Citation

  • Orsola Costantini, 2015. "The Cyclically Adjusted Budget: History and Exegesis of a Fateful Estimate," Working Papers Series 24, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
  • Handle: RePEc:thk:wpaper:24
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    Cited by:

    1. Philipp Heimberger & Jakob Kapeller, 2017. "The performativity of potential output: pro-cyclicality and path dependency in coordinating European fiscal policies," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 904-928, September.
    2. Oliver Picek, 2018. "Kann nationale Konjunkturpolitik noch Beschäftigung schaffen?," Working Paper Reihe der AK Wien - Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 180, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomics; Fiscal policy; Cyclically Adjusted Budget; EU; Keynesian Economics; History of Economic Thought; Economic History;

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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