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 stochastic debt forecasting framework is presented where projected debt distributions reflect both the joint realization of the fiscal policy reaction to contemporaneous stochastic macroeconomic projections, and also the second-round effects of fiscal policy on macroeconomic projections. The forecasting framework thus reflects the impact of the primary balance on the forecast of macro aggregates. Previously-developed forecasting algorithms that do not incorporate these second-round effects are shown to have systematic forecast errors. Evidence suggests that the second-round effects have statistically and economically significant impacts on the direction and dispersion of the debt-to-GDP forecasts. For example, a positive structural primary balance shock lowers the domestic real interest rate, in turn raising GDP and lowering the median debt-to-GDP projection by an additional 10 percent of GDP in the medium term relative to prior forecasting algorithms. In addition, the framework employs a new long-term (five decade) data base and accounts for parameter uncertainty, and for potentially non-normally distributed shocks.