This Selected Issues paper presents a comparison on public expenditure of Austria and other countries. In the past decade, Austria’s government expenditure growth has been very steady, thus avoiding the boom–bust pattern of some other European countries. However, expenditure levels are relatively high, and the difference with Germany has been widening. Compared with other countries, spending is particularly high for pensions, capital transfers and subsidies, including in the transport sector. According to economic classification, the composition of expenditure in the main categories has been more stable. Social benefits and transfers in kind, increasing by 0.7 percentage points between 2002 and 2012, have remained the highest component by far. Nevertheless, expenditure levels in Austria are relatively high, and the difference with Germany has been widening. A cross-country analysis of public spending by different type of categories shows several areas where spending stands out.
This paper assesses the effectiveness of lending restriction measures, such as loan-to-value and debt-service-to-income ratios, in affecting developments in house prices and credit. We use data on 99 lending standard restrictions implemented in 28 EU countries over 1990–2018. The results suggest that lending restriction measures are generally effective in curbing house prices and credit. However, the impact is delayed and reaches its peak only after three years. In addition, the impact is asymmetric, with tightening measures having weaker association with target variables compared to loosening measures. The association is stronger in countries outside of euro area and for legally-binding measures and measures involving sanctions. The results have practical implications for macroprudential authorities.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix assesses Switzerland’s recent real GDP performance in terms of underlying movements in potential output and the cyclical output gap. The paper highlights that Swiss real GDP has been stagnant since 1990, after expanding at an average rate of some 1¾ percent during 1977–90. The evidence presented indicates that potential output growth during 1991–95 was significantly below historical average. This paper also tries to assess the possible effects of stage 3 of European Monetary Union on Switzerland.