The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The present formulation of the golden rule in the United Kingdom allows fiscal performance to be tested explicitly on an ex-post basis. However, it requires precise dating of the economic cycle, which can lead to significant controversy. Also, the need to aim for current balance or better "over the cycle" may force fiscal policy to be procyclical toward the end of cycles. Using dynamic stochastic simulations, the paper suggests that making the formulation of the golden rule forward-looking and independent of the dating of the economic cycle would reduce the risk of procyclicality and enhance macroeconomic stability.