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.
A number of uncertainties about long-term expenditure commitments in industrial countries are examined: (i) the assumptions underlying the projections, (ii) the potential to further reduce non-age-related expenditures, (iii) the implicitly assumed absence of "shocks," and (iv) the potential for raising revenue. This paper concludes that (i) there is scope, but within narrow limits, to reduce non-age-related expenditures; (ii) fiscal policy frameworks tend to understate risks; and (iii) prevailing tax rates leave little room for increasing taxation in the countries facing the strongest aging pressures. In sum, governments will have to adopt a much more ambitious fiscal policy stance to cope with aging populations.