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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the medium-term budgetary framework (MTBF) for Austria. Austria is part of a trend among many countries to consider some form of MTBF. This paper describes the proposed framework in Austria and assesses it in light of the experience of other countries. The general conclusion is that the track records are mixed, but that, on balance, the experiences with MTBFs have been favorable. The paper also examines the long-term fiscal challenges arising from demographic change.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix presents estimates of potential output and the output gap for Austria to identify the scope for sustainable noninflation growth and allow an assessment of the current stance of macroeconomic policies. The estimates of the cyclical fluctuations in Austria are compared with those of the other countries of the European Union to provide the basis for an assessment of the relative economic benefits and constraints for Austria in the context of its participation in European Monetary Union, both in the short and longer term.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the growth prospects of the Greek economy. It is estimated that exceptional factors boosted growth by 1 percentage point per year in recent years and, under current trends and policies, growth is likely to drop to about 3 percent by the end of the decade. The paper places the recent strong growth performance of the Greek economy in a historical and international context. It also assesses the impact of exceptional factors on growth, and presents statistical estimates of potential growth.
International Monetary Fund
This Background Paper examines the medium-term economic outlook (1997–99) for Norway. The central feature of Norges Bank’s reference case projection for the medium term is that the expansion of mainland output will slow from 3.3 percent in 1995 and 2.8 percent in 1996 to an annual average of 2 percent in 1997–99. Overall GDP growth will also slow from about 4 percent in each of 1995 and 1996 to 2 percent in 1997–99. Inflation is forecast to remain low, at 2 percent in 1996 and on average 2.3 percent per year in 1997–99.
International Monetary Fund
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.
Mr. Christian Thimann and Mr. Manfred Koch
Austria has probably the world’s highest pension expenditures relative to its economic size, largely because of the generosity of its pension system. This paper examines the institutional setup of the Austrian pension system and projects its future development based on current policies. The projection results show a swift financial worsening. With the already high level of contribution rates, pension expenditures, and budget transfers, the results underscore the need for reform. Much of this reform can, however, be achieved by maintaining the structure of the system and adjusting some of its key parameters. The paper outlines options for such a reform.
Mr. Leif Lybecker Eskesen
Austria faces significant population aging. This will increase public spending on pensions, health care, and long-term care, while tax and social security revenues will fall. This paper analyzes the fiscal burden facing Austria due to aging and the policy steps necessary to address it. The paper finds that Austria is not well prepared to meet the fiscal burden of aging and that fiscal sustainability is threatened, even under fairly optimistic assumptions about the effects of recent pension and labor market reforms. Consequently, to ensure long-term sustainability, pension reform must go further and other saving measures might also be necessary.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews past trends in public pension spending and provides projections for 27 advanced and 25 emerging economies over 2011–2050. In constructing these projections, the paper incorporates the impact of recent pension reforms and highlights the key assumptions underlying these projections and associated risks. The paper also presents reform options to address future pension spending pressures in the advanced and emerging economies. These reforms—mainly increasing retirement ages, reducing replacement rates, or increasing payroll taxes—are discussed in the context of their role in fiscal consolidation, and their implications for both equity and economic growth. In addition, the paper examines the challenge of emerging economies of expanding coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner