International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is increasingly involved in offering policy advice on public pension issues to member countries. Public pension spending is important from both fiscal and welfare perspectives. Pension policy and its reforms can have significant fiscal and distribution implications, can influence labor supply and labor demand decisions, and may impact consumption and savings behavior. This technical note provides guidance on assessing public pension systems’ macrocriticality, i.e., sustainability, adequacy, and efficiency; it also discusses the issues and policy trade-offs to be considered when designing responses aiming to address these dimensions of the pension system. The paper emphasizes the importance of taking a long-term, comprehensive perspective when evaluating public pension spending and providing policy advice. Where feasible, reforms should be gradual and transparent to allow individuals ample time to adjust their work and savings decisions and to facilitate consumption smoothing over their lifecycle to avoid poverty in old age. It is also important to ensure that pension systems’ design and reforms do not lead to undesirable impacts in other policy areas including general tax compliance, health insurance coverage, labor force participation among older workers, or labor market informality. The paper emphasizes the importance country-specific social and economic objectives and constraints, as well as political economy realities – factors that can determine whether a pension reform is a success or failure.
Victoria Babajanyan, Daniel Baksa, Mr. Martin Fukac, Eduard Hakobyan, Arshaluys Harutyunyan, Narek Karapetyan, Babken Pashinyan, Garik Petrosyan, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This paper presents an overview of the Ararat Fiscal Strategy Model (AFSM), which is a structural, New-Keynesian, DSGE, small open economy model with a rich fiscal block that includes several expenditure and revenue instruments, and types of debt. The AFSM is now a formal part of the Ministry of Finance analytical toolkit to do macroeconomic fiscal policy scenario analysis, which feeds into policy discussions, budget planning, and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. The model was applied to assses the macroeconomic impact of the “first wave” of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Armenian economy, including the mitigating effects of policy responses. AFSM simulations revealed a potential severe impact in 2020, with declines in GDP and consumption of 12.9 and 11.7 percent, respectively, and a cumulative loss of GDP of 38 percent for the period 2020-2023. They also highlighted a significant fiscal outlook deterioration that would increase public debt-to-GDP ratios by 18.8 percentage points over 2020-23. The package of counter-cyclical fiscal measures of 3.6 percent of GDP, however, was estimated to cushion the 2020 GDP decline by almost 2 percentage points, as well as protect jobs. A second AFSM application related to the 2018 public investment under-execution showed the importance of improving the efficiency of public investment to have positive macroeconomic and fiscal effects.