The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Rising longevity, falling fertility rates, and the retirement of the baby boom generation will substantially raise age-related government spending in most advanced and many emerging market countries. This paper assesses the evolution of fiscal sustainability for each of the G-7 countries using two standard primary gap indicators. The estimated fiscal adjustment required to ensure long-run fiscal sustainability is substantial for all G-7 countries. In particular, ensuring fiscal sustainability would require an average improvement in the primary balance of about 4 percentage points of GDP. While the overall adjustment required to achieve long-run fiscal sustainability in G-7 countries is large, there are significant growth benefits to putting public finances on a sustainable footing in the near term versus delayed adjustment.