- Ahsan Mansur, Richard Haas, and Peter Heller
- Published Date:
- May 1986
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Dernberg, Thomas F., “Fiscal Analysis in the Federal Republic of Germany: The Cyclically Neutral Budget,” Staff Papers, International Monetary Fund (Washington), Vol. 22 (November1975), pp. 825–57.
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Numbers 1, 3, 4, and 21 of the Occasional Paper series are out of print.
These estimates are typically made for both central and general governments. The Group of Seven countries are Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Several of the countries in this study use the gross national product (GNP) as the principal measure of output (notably Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, and the United States). In this study, all ratios to output for these countries have been calculated and expressed in the tables with respect to GNP. However, GDP is used in the paper as the shorthand expression for all subsequent references to total output.
For more up-to-date estimates of the fiscal impulse, see International Monetary Fund (1986).
The list of measures discussed is not exhaustive. In particular, the Dutch measure is excluded. This is a concept similar to the German Council of Economic Experts (GCEE) measure, except that the important parameters are not base-year expenditure and tax-to-output ratios but ratios of last period’s tax and expenditure to last period’s actual and potential output, respectively. This effectively rebases the Dutch calculations each period. A discussion of the measure along with much other useful information can be found in Chand (1977).
The measure that is currently used by the GCEE differs in detail from the measure currently used by the Fund. Specifically, the cyclically neutral level of government spending is defined as equal to the actual budget in the base period. Changes in potential output lead to proportional changes in the neutral level of expenditure. Technical corrections are then made for possible changes in the revenue-to-output ratio over time. More precisely,
g0 = G0/Yp, the base-year expenditure ratio
Yp = potential output
k = normal capacity utilization rate
In the base year,
One should note that the Fund methodology deviates from equation (3) slightly in the way in which unemployment insurance benefits are treated. For the precise formula incorporating this, see equation (8) in Section IV.
This implies that FI/Y may differ in sign from Δ(FIS/Y).
Specifically, a measure of the contribution of the government sector to the growth in GDP can be derived as
Interlink is a large-scale econometric model consisting of separate submodels for each of the OECD member countries, as well as nine regions outside of the OECD. For more information, see Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 c).
Differences in the timing of the Fund’s World Economic Outlook and the OECD’s Economic Outlook exercises are an obvious source of such differences; staff forecasts may also diverge.
This procedure is described in more detail in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 b). Vol. 35, p. 155; and in Muller and Price (1984). In the OECD framework, the actual budget balance, B, here defined as expenditure less revenue, is decomposed into a cyclically corrected balance and the cyclical adjustment in the following fashion:
where YGAP denotes the gap between potential and actual output, expressed as a proportion of actual output. Changes in the cyclically adjusted balance are conceptually identical to FI′ in equation (4) in the text.
See Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 c), pp. 40–41.
A fuller description can be found in Muller and Price (1984).
For example, in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 c), the following differences in nominal GDP emerge for 1984:
|United States (billion dollars)||France (billion francs)||Italy (trillion lire)|
In its measure of the level of the cyclically corrected deficit, the OECD method is perhaps closer to the high-employment-balance measure than the Fund method.
Over time, at the full-employment level of output growth, the FEB is subject to fiscal drag. This, however, can be corrected for. See Blinder and others (1974) on this point.
However, the “real” component of changes in interest payments may have demand implications.
In this paper, each quarter is classified into one of the four cyclical phases; recession, early expansion, middle expansion, and late expansion. Trend GDP is estimated by connecting the middle-expansion means of GDP (during each middle expansion lasting more than 12 quarters) with constant-growth-rate lines.
The Fund’s estimates of the medium-term attainable output are derived principally by using a manufacturing production function to provide forecast growth rates of manufacturing output, adjusting this growth rate for the declining share of manufactures in total output, and then applying the resulting growth rate to the current level of GDP to obtain a medium-term attainable level of output. (See Artus and Turner (1978).) These estimates are then discussed with the country desk economists to take account of any country-specific issues that might be missed by the model.
The change in structural unemployment rates under the two alternative approaches will be
where N = 1, 2,…, T, and T denotes the total number of years between the base year and the year of full recovery.
This assumes that the average real unemployment benefit rate is not itself a function of the depth of the cycle. If there were an increase in the number of weeks over which unemployment compensation could be claimed in the case of a severe recession, this would raise the average benefit rate. The adjustments, however, do not consider any potential change in noncyclical unemployment owing to changes in the unemployment insurance benefits; some studies (see Feldstein (1974 a)) and Boskin and Hurd (1978)) attribute part of the recent increases in the noncyclical unemployment rate to increases in unemployment benefits, which have tended to reduce the aggregate work effort.
In practice, the cost of living adjustments for unemployment benefits may be only partially indexed, so that one would want to use a Pt index which reflects the cost of living indexation arrangement in effect in the base year. The cost of living adjustments prevailing for each of the major industrial countries are indicated in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 c).
The conventional practice is to use the concept of a typical worker, who is defined as a married male production worker who has a nonworking wife and two children and who is earning the average production wage.
The replacement ratio measures unemployment benefits (including all benefits and allowances) as a percentage of the former disposable income of the unemployed: see United Nations, Economic Survey of Europe, various issues, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (1983 a).
The replacement ratio corresponding to average unemployed (not the typical worker concept) is reported for the United Kingdom and Finland, among the OECD countries. (See United Nations, Economic Survey of Europe, various issues.)
From equation (11), this leads to an increase in the implied absolute level of structural unemployment and a corresponding increase in the amount of benefits paid to such workers and also reduces the cyclically neutral balance, thus increasing the fiscal stance measure.
In the Appendix, an approach to adjusting the budget balance for the effect of induced changes in interest rates and exchange rates on the market value of government debt is also considered.
One potentially important issue not considered in this paper is the ownership of government bonds: interest payments on government bonds held by foreign residents are not treated separately, although these payments do not directly contribute to domestic aggregate demand. Secondary feedback effects operating through foreign-trade multipliers may. however, partly compensate for this deficiency.
This does not take account of the additional effect that inflation might have in reducing the private sector’s desired ratio of holdings of government claims to income. For a model that considers this relationship, as well as providing a particularly insightful discussion of some of these issues, see Mackenzie (1984).
See Buiter (1983 a)
These may be caused by inflation, interest and exchange rate changes, or relative price changes that cause variations in the real value of mineral rights held by the government.
PPAA has generated interest in both business and academic circles. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (1974) recommended that balance sheet figures for the beginning and end of the financial year be expressed in the same units; Shoven and Bulow (1975, 1976) have applied PPAA to measure both financial and nonfinancial corporate profits in the United States. Siegel (1979) has applied the concept to adjustment of the budget deficit. PPAA may not be the appropriate accounting principle for many economies with less developed financial markets. Because of market imperfections, such governments may face difficulties in floating new bonds at the prevailing rate of interest, even if the real value of the outstanding government debt may be smaller than before; inflation-induced reductions in outstanding “real” liabilities may not be reflected in market behavior, implying that a cash (or realization) based definition of the budget balance would be more appropriate for such economies.
Use of a historical deflator may lead to different results than one based on replacement costs.
The nominal value refers to the amount of money the government will eventually repay to the holders of conventional bonds. The “market” value of any bond—that is, the price at which it can currently be bought—may be more or less than its nominal value. In some countries, indexed securities have been issued in recent years; the new index-linked stocks would have to be treated differently, as their eventual nominal redemption value is not known.
Operationally, the price-induced change ΔVP is the change in the real value of outstanding average government debt between periods t-1 and t. Since debt data are usually available on an end-of-year basis, it is probably more accurate to use the midyear debt level, derived as a sample average of the debt outstanding at the end of the current and previous fiscal years.
Assumes a 15 percent rate of inflation between 1980 and 1981.
The series of “inflation adjustments” published by the Bank of England is based on the procedures proposed by Taylor and Threadgold (1979).
Another question posed by Mackenzie (1984) is how government debt held by the monetary authorities should be treated. The empirical work in this paper does not distinguish between debt held by the monetary authorities and that held by the private sector.
An exception to this is when the central government directly receives bond interest on foreign-currency assets held as part of foreign exchange reserves.
The modification for UIB does not affect the essence of the following discussion.
International Monetary Fund (1974), p. 43. (In 1986, the Fund published A Manual on Government Finance Statistics.)
For example, in most countries, social security revenues (expenditures) are consolidated with central government revenues (expenditures). For France and Italy, only central government transfers to cover the deficit of the social security system are included (as a central government transfer).
It should be noted that in their current policy appraisals, the OECD and BIS focus on only the fiscal posture of the general government.
An exception to this rule is the sale of foreign-currency securities, which is recorded below the line.
In the United States, a significant component of net lending is included as an off-budget item.
Tanzi and Blejer (1983), p. 2.
It will differ from the CNB as a function of both the difference between Yt and
whereas CNB = t0Y — g0YN. with Yp assumed to equal YN.
The argument for this is that efforts at balancing the structural budget balance at the cyclical peak would still “need to allow for the fact that the budget was not balanced throughout the cycle, so that government debt would be rising and portfolio pressures increasing” (Muller and Price (1984), p, 4).
The calculations underlying Tables 11, 12, and 13 are based on the present methodology used in the Fund’s April 1954 World Economic Outlook exercise, according to which changes in unemployment insurance benefits since the base year are assumed to be wholly cyclical. The fiscal stance measure FIS is derived from equation (8).
Since fiscal drag arises from inflation, rather than from the stage of the cycle, this is a legitimate component of the structural balance that would prevail at the nominal output level, with the higher price level.
The OECD structural deficit corresponds to the level of the high employment budget deficit.
The conventional deficit and the reformulated deficit will be identical if the bonds are fully indexed so that both the principal and intermediate interest payments are price linked, and the nominal coupon is the same as the market consol rate of interest, which will always hold in the case of demand debt.
Occasional Papers of the International Monetary Fund*
2. Economic Stabilization and Growth in Portugal, by Hans O. Schmitt. 1981.
5. Trade Policy Developments in Industrial Countries, by S.J. Anjaria, Z. Iqbal, L.L. Perez, and W.S. Tseng. 1981.
6. The Multilateral System of Payments: Keynes, Convertibility, and the International Monetary Fund’s Articles of Agreement, by Joseph Gold. 1981.
7. International Capital Markets: Recent Developments and Short-Term Prospects, 1981, by a Staff Team Headed by Richard C. Williams, with G.G. Johnson. 1981.
8. Taxation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Part I: Tax Policy and Administration in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Carlos A. Aguirre, Peter S. Griffith, and M. Zühtü Yücelik. Part II: A Statistical Evaluation of Taxation in Sub-Saharan Africa, by Vito Tanzi. 1981.
9. World Economic Outlook: A Survey by the Staff of the International Monetary Fund. 1982.
10. International Comparisons of Government Expenditure, by Alan A. Tait and Peter S. Heller. 1982.
11. Payments Arrangements and the Expansion of Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa, by Shailendra J. Anjaria, Sena Eken, and John F. Laker. 1982.
12. Effects of Slowdown in Industrial Countries on Growth in Non-Oil Developing Countries, by Morris Goldstein and Mohsin S. Khan. 1982.
13. Currency Convertibility in the Economic Community of West African States, by John B. McLenaghan, Saleh M. Nsouli, and Klaus-Walter Riechel. 1982.
14. International Capital Markets: Developments and Prospects, 1982, by a Staff Team Headed by Richard C. Williams, with G.G. Johnson. 1982.
15. Hungary: An Economic Survey, by a Staff Team Headed by Patrick de Fontenay. 1982.
16. Developments in International Trade Policy, by S.J. Anjaria, Z. Iqbal, N. Kirmani, and L.L. Perez. 1982.
17. Aspects of the International Banking Safety Net, by G.G. Johnson, with Richard K. Abrams. 1983.
18. Oil Exporters’ Economic Development in an Interdependent World, by Jahangir Amuzegar. 1983.
19. The European Monetary System: The Experience, 1979–82, by Horst Ungerer, with Owen Evans and Peter Nyberg. 1983.
20. Alternatives to the Central Bank in the Developing World, by Charles Collyns. 1983.
22. Interest Rate Policies in Developing Countries: A Study by the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. 1983.
23. International Capital Markets: Developments and Prospects, 1983, by Richard Williams, Peter Keller, John Lipsky, and Donald Mathieson. 1983.
24. Government Employment and Pay: Some International Comparisons, by Peter S. Heller and Alan A. Tait. 1983. Revised 1984.
25. Recent Multilateral Debt Restructurings with Official and Bank Creditors, by a Staff Team Headed by E. Brau and R.C. Williams, with P.M. Keller and M. Nowak. 1983.
26. The Fund, Commercial Banks, and Member Countries, by Paul Mentré. 1984.
27. World Economic Outlook: A Survey by the Staff of the International Monetary Fund. 1984.
28. Exchange Rate Volatility and World Trade: A Study by the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. 1984.
29. Issues in the Assessment of the Exchange Rates of Industrial Countries: A Study by the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. 1984
30. The Exchange Rate System—Lessons of the Past and Options for the Future: A Study by the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. 1984
31. International Capital Markets: Developments and Prospects, 1984, by Maxwell Watson, Peter Keller, and Donald Mathieson. 1984.
32. World Economic Outlook, September 1984: Revised Projections by the Staff of the International Monetary Fund. 1984.
33. Foreign Private Investment in Developing Countries: A Study by the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund. 1985.
34. Adjustment Programs in Africa: The Recent Experience, by Justin B. Zulu and Saleh M. Nsouli. 1985.
35. The West African Monetary Union: An Analytical Review, by Rattan J. Bhatia. 1985.
36. Formulation of Exchange Rate Policies in Adjustment Programs, by a Staff Team Headed by G.G. Johnson. 1985.
37. Export Credit Cover Policies and Payments Difficulties, by Eduard H. Brau and Chanpen Puckahtikom. 1985.
38. Trade Policy Issues and Developments, by Shailendra J. Anjaria, Naheed Kirmani, and Arne B. Petersen. 1985.
39. A Case of Successful Adjustment: Korea’s Experience During 1980–84, by Bijan B. Aghevli and Jorge Márquez-Ruarte. 1985.
40. Recent Developments in External Debt Restructuring, by K. Burke Dillon, C. Maxwell Watson, G. Russell Kincaid, and Chanpen Puckahtikom. 1985.
41. Fund-Supported Adjustment Programs and Economic Growth, by Mohsin S. Khan and Malcolm D. Knight. 1985.
42. Global Effects of Fund-Supported Adjustment Programs, by Morris Goldstein. 1986.
43. International Capital Markets: Developments and Prospects, by Maxwell Watson, Donald Mathieson, Russell Kincaid, and Eliot Kalter. 1986.
44. A Review of the Fiscal Impulse Measure, by Peter S. Heller, Richard D. Haas, and Ahsan S. Mansur. 1986.
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