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Indicators for Measuring Fiscal Sustainability: A Comparative Application of the OECD-Method and Generational Accounting


  • Benz, Ulrich
  • Fetzer, Stefan


On the basis of an empirical application for Germany, we compare two methods for measuring fiscal sustainability, the Generational Accounting approach and the OECD-Method. We show that both methods can be transferred into each other. Therefore the indicators belonging to one method can be used for the other one and consequently the set of sustainability indicators is enlarged for both methods. Furthermore we evaluate the indicators with the criteria theoretical deficiencies, tangibility and sensitivity. We draw the conclusion that a combination of indicators stemming from both approaches can give a generally understandable and theoretical correct defined description of fiscal sustainability at the same time.

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  • Benz, Ulrich & Fetzer, Stefan, 2004. "Indicators for Measuring Fiscal Sustainability: A Comparative Application of the OECD-Method and Generational Accounting," Discussion Papers 118, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:alufin:118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1991. "Current and Anticipated Deficits, Interest Rates and Economic Activity," NBER Chapters,in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 361-390 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jochen Michaelis & Michael Pflüger, 2000. "The impact of tax reforms on unemployment in a SMOPEC," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(2), pages 175-201, June.
    3. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Werding & Herbert Hofmann, 2005. "Die fiskalische Bilanz eines Kindes im deutschen Steuer- und Sozialsystem : Studie im Auftrag der Robert Bosch Stiftung," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 27, April.
    2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Christian Hagist, 2005. "Who’s Going Broke? Comparing Growth in Healthcare Costs in Ten OECD Countries," Working Papers id:286, eSocialSciences.
    3. Christian Hagist & Norbert Klusen & Andreas Plate & Bernd Raffelhüschen, 2005. "Social Health Insurance - the Major Driver of Unsustainable Fiscal Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1574, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Erling Holmøy, 2007. "Fiscal sustainability: Must the problem be diminished before we can see it?," Discussion Papers 499, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Holmøy, Erling & Strøm, Birger, 2013. "Computable General Equilibrium Assessments of Fiscal Sustainability in Norway," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    6. Christian Hagist & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2005. "Who's Going Broke? Comparing Growth in Healthcare Costs in Ten OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 11833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy


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