This Selected Issues paper studies the fiscal and macroeconomic impact of different reform options. It analyzes the impact of an increase in the contribution rate, a reduction of benefits, and an increase in the retirement age. Although all reform options can lead to the fiscal sustainability of the system, there are important macroeconomic trade-offs among them. Although the Luxembourg’s pension system is sound over the near term, further reforms are needed to ensure its long-term sustainability. This paper explored the fiscal and macroeconomic impact of several reform options: an increase in the contribution rate, a reduction of benefits, and an increase in the retirement age. Although all these reforms would help ensuring fiscal long-term sustainability, there are important macroeconomic trade-offs. Even though an increase in contribution rates can be implemented immediately, it introduces distortions in the labor market which lead to a decline in GDP in addition to a decline in consumption.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that Luxembourg’s growth prospects remain favorable, but downside risks arise from a weaker-than-expected global growth, a disorderly Brexit, changes in international tax rules, and a sharp tightening of global financial conditions. Domestically, rising real estate prices could exacerbate already elevated household indebtedness and increase affordability challenges. Fiscal policy should aim to maintain a strong fiscal position and preserve buffers. The government’s plans, while appropriate, will result in a slightly expansionary budget in 2019. The cost and timeline of the planned measures over the medium term remain to be determined. Given risks ahead, including from potential changes in international taxation, Luxembourg should build on its strong fiscal record and preserve sizeable buffers. Structural policies should focus on addressing key gaps in the economy. Further reforms of the pension system are needed to ensure its sustainability, while considering intergenerational equity and trade-offs of various reform options.
This paper discusses growth prospects and downside risks of Luxembourg’s economy. Luxembourg’s small open economy plays a pivotal role in intermediating global capital flows. Deep-rooted traditions of fiscal prudence, business-friendly regulation, a skilled labor force, and low and predictable taxes have made Luxembourg a global financial center, home of multinational companies, and one of the richest countries in the European Union (EU). However, financial market stress could affect Luxembourg’s performance. In case of severe external shocks, unraveling financial exposures could prompt dislocations in markets or institutions beyond the scope of the national authorities. The European Banking Union and EU financial regulations frameworks are particularly positive for Luxembourg.
Traditional fiscal indicators focused on measures of current deficits and debt miss the potentially important implications of current policies for future public finances. This could be problematic, including in the case of Europe, where population aging is expected to pose additional fiscal costs not captured by such indicators. To better gauge the state of public finances in the EU27 countries, this paper derives forward-looking fiscal measures of intertemporal net worth both directly from the European Commission’s Aging Working Group’s long-run indicators and using a comprehensive public-sector balance sheet approach. These measures could be used as an "early warning" mechanism and also as a communication device with the public. Current estimates indicate that, on existing policies, the intertemporal net worth of the EU27 is deeply negative, even in excess of its GDP level, and is projected to worsen further over time. This suggests that Europe’s current policies need to be significantly strengthened to bring future liabilities in line with the EU governments’ capacity to generate assets.
This Selected Issues paper on Luxembourg reports that exemplary high growth rates and prudent fiscal policies provided the financial basis for the welfare system. Social expenditures in per capita terms, even adjusted for the large number of cross-border workers, rank highest among European Union countries, primarily driven by high replacement rates of public income support, including for unemployment benefits, the minimum guaranteed income, and pensions. Rapid social spending growth has funded substantial increases in unemployment and family benefits.
Luxembourg’s 2006 Article IV Consultation reports that the dominant financial sector has supported a steady rebound in economic activity. Growth is projected to remain healthy in the near term, but trend growth may decline as the rapid financial sector expansion may decelerate. The financial sector’s successful shift from traditional banking services to the investment fund industry (IFI) is well advanced. The close integration of Luxembourg’s mostly foreign-owned financial institutions with their parent companies tends to enhance soundness, including asset quality and capital adequacy.
This Selected Issues paper studies Luxembourg’s economic growth performance of the past two decades with a view to shedding light on the growth prospects and fiscal implications. The paper investigates whether the recent weakness in activity is largely transitory or whether it heralds a new era of lower potential output growth. The paper also explains one option for reforming the pay-as-you-go pension pillar, which is to link pension benefits to the contributions base through a “solidarity factor.”
The Selected Issues paper is focused on policies to secure strong growth and safeguard fiscal sustainability. The paper analyzes the reasons behind Italy's persistent inflation differential vis-a-vis the euro area. It reviews Italy's large regional imbalances through a catch-up in income levels and estimates a growth model using panel data for Italian regions to determine the impact of a number of factors in addition to convergence forces. It also focuses on fiscal sustainability and reviews the case for additional pension reform steps in Italy.
This Selected Issues paper describes the developments and challenges in the financial sector of the Republic of San Marino. The study analyzes the structure of the financial sector, compares the performance of Sammarinese banks with those in other countries, reviews the legal and regulatory environment as well as supervisory practices, and discusses the challenges facing the banking system. The paper also provides the statistical appendix report for the country.
Luxembourg's impressive growth performance has been accompanied by regional specialization of production, high labor mobility, export-propelled growth, and the dominance of regional growth fluctuations. Luxembourg's public pension system faces the challenges of population aging and Luxembourg's small, open, and highly specialized economy. Luxembourg's labor market performance holds a seeming paradox, favorable labor market outcomes are coupled with rigid labor market institutions. The supervision of cross-border financial activities raises the difficult challenge of obtaining a complete, consolidated view of the operations of international banking institutions.