This Selected Issues paper analyzes France’s fiscal stance using a structural stochastic model. The theoretical model features a forward-looking benevolent government that needs to decide the optimal fiscal stance given the level of public debt, the cyclical position of the economy, and expectations about future shocks. This paper shows that a fiscal consolidation can help build buffers that could help France confront the next downturn from a stronger fiscal position. The analysis highlights that, on average, fiscal policy in France exhibited a deficit bias over the past four decades, being unable to react to either rising debt levels, or cyclical conditions. A model-based analysis further confirms that fiscal policy was generally looser than warranted by cyclical and debt sustainability considerations, and this is only partly due to the fact policymakers need to take decisions based on real-time output gap measures that are subject to uncertainty.
Public consumption has declined from 12 percent of GDP in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 1999 owing to fiscal consolidation: wage increases are moderate, and other current expenditures have grown slowly. Conversely, private consumption has increased from 75.2 percent of GDP in 1996 to 76.9 percent in 1998, and is estimated to have reached 76.6 percent in 1999. Public investment has increased from 6.4 percent of GDP in 1996 to 7.2 percent of GDP in 1998 and is estimated to have reached 8.2 percent of GDP in 1999, whereas private investment has experienced a downward slide.
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that like other open economies, Korea was hard hit by the global financial crisis during the last quarter of 2008. The authorities responded with a timely and comprehensive set of financial market and macrostabilization measures. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for their speedy and comprehensive measures, which have successfully stabilized the economy and the financial system. Directors have also supported the sizable and frontloaded fiscal stimulus package and the intention to maintain fiscal stimulus in 2010 given the uncertain outlook.