IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How cyclical do cyclically-adjusted balances remain? An EU study


  • Enrique Alberola

    (Banco de España)

  • Jose M González-Minguez

    (Banco de España)

  • Pablo Hernandez-de-Cos

    (Banco de España)

  • Jose M Marqués

    (Banco de España)


Observed budget balances are an imperfect indicator of the fiscal policy stance, because fluctuations in economic activity induce automatic changes in the balance, hence the use of cyclically-adjusted balances (CAB). However, this paper shows that CABs (as measured through one of the two methods currently used by the Commission) tend to be systematically overestimated during downturns and underestimated during expansions. The dominant source of this distortion arises from the filtering of revenues deemed to be cyclical, possibly signalling a problem with the computation of elasticities. The effect of the items which are assumed not to move with the cycle is non significant, but this overall result conceals offseting effects: public investment turns to be significantly procyclical and interest payments and transfers to firms are countercyclical.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrique Alberola & Jose M González-Minguez & Pablo Hernandez-de-Cos & Jose M Marqués, 2005. "How cyclical do cyclically-adjusted balances remain? An EU study," Public Economics 0507004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0507004
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 32. published in Hacienda Pública Española, 166-(3/2003): 151-181

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul van den Noord, 2000. "The Size and Role of Automatic Fiscal Stabilizers in the 1990s and Beyond," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 230, OECD Publishing.
    2. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Serhan Cevik & Katerina Teksoz, 2014. "Deep Roots of Fiscal Behavior," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(2), pages 5-33, November.
    2. Masten, Igor & Grdović Gnip, Ana, 2016. "Stress testing the EU fiscal framework," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 276-293.
    3. Jef Vuchelen & Jesse De Wit, 2008. "An Evaluation of the OECD Cyclically-Adjusted Primary Government Balance Forecasts," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 51(4), pages 459-479.

    More about this item


    Structural balances; output gap;

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H - Public Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0507004. 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: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.