The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The main purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of approaches to assessing fiscal sustainability. It summarizes the general analytical background, focusing on the present value budget constraint, which is the benchmark against which solvency is determined, tests of sustainability (including sustainability indicators), and sustainability and uncertainty. The paper then looks at the way in which fiscal sustainability has been assessed in different types of IMF work. Finally the link between fiscal and external sustainability is discussed.