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Fiscal sustainability and policy implications for the euro area

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  • Balassone, Fabrizio
  • Cunha, Jorge Correia da
  • Langenus, Geert
  • Manzke, Bernhard
  • Pavot, Jeanne
  • Prammer, Doris
  • Tommasino, Pietro

Abstract

In this paper we examine the sustainability of euro area public finances against the backdrop of population ageing. We critically assess the widely used projections of the Working Group on Ageing Populations (AWG) of the EU's Economic Policy Committee and argue that ageing costs may be higher than projected in the AWG reference scenario. Taking into account adjusted headline estimates for ageing costs, largely based upon the sensitivity analysis carried out by the AWG, we consider alternative indicators to quantify sustainability gaps for euro area countries. With respect to the policy implications, we assess the appropriateness of different budgetary strategies to restore fiscal sustainability taking into account intergenerational equity. Our stylised analysis based upon the lifetime contribution to the government's primary balance of different generations suggests that an important degree of pre-funding of the ageing costs is necessary to avoid shifting the burden of adjustment in a disproportionate way to future generations. For many euro area countries this implies that the medium-term targets defined in the context of the revised stability and growth pact would ideally need to be revised upwards to significant surpluses.

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  • Balassone, Fabrizio & Cunha, Jorge Correia da & Langenus, Geert & Manzke, Bernhard & Pavot, Jeanne & Prammer, Doris & Tommasino, Pietro, 2009. "Fiscal sustainability and policy implications for the euro area," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2009,04, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:7573
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    Cited by:

    1. Trenovski, Borce & Tashevska, Biljana, 2016. "Fiscal Sustainability of Macedonia on its path towards the EU," MPRA Paper 76321, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    2. Axel H. Börsch-Supan, 2012. "Entitlement Reforms in Europe: Policy Mixes in the Current Pension Reform Process," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 405-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jean-Claude Trichet, 2010. "Luncheon address: central banking in uncertain times: conviction and responsibility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 243-266.
    4. Axel H. Börsch-Supan, 2012. "Entitlement Reforms in Europe: Policy Mixes in the Current Pension Reform Process," NBER Working Papers 18009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Adama Diaw & Mamadou Diop, 2015. "Bilan de la dévaluation du Franc CFA et du Pacte de convergence dans l’UEMOA," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201505, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    6. van Riet, Ad, 2010. "Euro area fiscal policies and the crisis," Occasional Paper Series 109, European Central Bank.
    7. Holger Bonin & Concepció Patxot & Guadalupe Souto, 2014. "Cyclically‐Neutral Generational Accounting," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 117-137.
    8. Rossana Merola & Douglas Sutherland, 2013. "Fiscal Consolidation and the Implications of Social Spending for Long-Term Fiscal Sustainability," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 4(3).
    9. Gábor Kutasi, 2017. "Unsustainable Public Debt in a European Fiscal Union?," REVISTA FINANZAS Y POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA DE COLOMBIA, vol. 9(1), pages 25-39, February.
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    12. Klaus Weyerstrass & Reinhard Neck, 2013. "A young EU member’s ageing: budgetary and macroeconomic consequences of Slovenia’s demographic prospects," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 427-456, August.
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    15. Claudia Münch & Sweder van Wijnbergen, 2009. "Education and Labor Market Activity of Women: An Age-Group Specific Empirical Analysis," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-099/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    16. Torben M. Andersen & Marias H. Gestsson, 2010. "Longevity, Growth and Intergenerational Equity - The Deterministic Case," Economics wp52, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
    17. Christophe Van Nieuwenhuyze, 2013. "Debt, assets and imbalances in the euro area. An aggregate view," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(1), pages 123-152.
    18. Michele Lanotte & Giacomo Manzelli & Anna Maria Rinaldi & Marco Taboga & Pietro Tommasino, 2016. "Easier said than done? Reforming the prudential treatment of banks’ sovereign exposures," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 326, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    population ageing; fiscal sustainability; generational accounting; medium-term objectives for fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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