Pavol Jurca, Ján Klacso, Eugen Tereanu, Marco Forletta, and Mr. Marco Gross
We develop a semi-structural quantitative framework that combines micro and macroeconomic data to assess the effectiveness of combinations of borrower-based macroprudential measures in Slovakia. We expand on the integrated dynamic household balance sheet model of Gross and Población (2017) by introducing an endogenous loan granting feature, in turn to quantify the potential (ex-ante) impact of macroprudential measures on resilience parameters, compared with a counterfactual no-policy scenario, under adverse macroeconomic conditions. We conclude that (1) borrower-based measures can noticeably improve household and bank resilience to macroeconomic downturns, in particular when multiple measures are applied; (2) those measures tend to complement each other, as the impact of individual instruments is transmitted via different channels; and (3) the resilience benefits are more sizeable if the measures effectively limit the accumulation of risks before an economic downturn occurs, suggesting that an early, preemptive implementation of borrower-based measures is indeed warranted.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Larry Q Cui, Silvia Domit, Jingzhou Meng, Mr. Slavi T Slavov, Mrs. Nujin Suphaphiphat, and Hanqi Zhang
This departmental paper investigates how countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) can improve fiscal transparency, thereby raising government efficiency and reducing corruption vulnerabilities.
Public sector balance sheets provide the most comprehensive picture of public wealth. They bring together all the accumulated assets and liabilities that the government controls, including public corporations, natural resources, and pension liabilities. They thus account for the entirety of what the state owns and owes, offering a broader fiscal picture beyond debt and deficits. Most governments do not provide such transparency, thereby avoiding the additional scrutiny it brings. Better balance sheet management enables countries to increase revenues, reduce risks, and improve fiscal policymaking. There is some empirical evidence that financial markets are increasingly paying attention to the entire government balance sheet and that strong balance sheets enhance economic resilience. This issue of the Fiscal Monitor presents a new database that shows comprehensive estimates of public sector assets and liabilities for a broad sample of 31 countries, covering 61 percent of the global economy, and provides tools to analyze and manage public wealth. Estimates of public wealth reveal the full scale of public assets and liabilities. Assets are worth US$101 trillion or 219 percent of GDP in the sample. This includes 120 percent of GDP in public corporation assets. Also included are natural resources that average 110 percent of GDP among the large natural-resource-producing countries. Recognizing these assets does not negate the vulnerabilities associated with the standard measure of general government public debt, comprising 94 percent of GDP for these countries. This is only half of total public sector liabilities of 198 percent of GDP, which also includes 46 percent of GDP in already accrued pension liabilities. Once governments understand the size and nature of public assets, they can start managing them more effectively. Potential gains from better asset management are considerable. Revenue gains from nonfinancial public corporations and government financial assets alone could be as high as 3 percent of GDP a year, equivalent to annual corporate tax collections across advanced economies. In addition, considerable gains could be realized from government nonfinancial assets. Public assets are a significant resource, and how governments use and report on them matters, not just for financial reasons, but also in terms of improving service delivery and preventing the misuse of resources that often results from a lack of transparency.
Based on a permanent income analysis, Gagnon (2018) has prominently suggested that Norway has saved too much, thereby free-riding on the rest of the world for demand. Our public sector balance sheet analysis comes to the opposite conclusion, chiefly because it also accounts for future aging costs. Unsurprisingly, we find that Norway’s current assets exceed its liabilities by some 340 percent of mainland GDP. But its nonoil fiscal deficits have grown very large (to almost 8 percent of mainland GDP) and aging pressures are only commencing. Therefore, Norway’s intertemporal financial net worth (IFNW) is negative, at about -240 percent of mainland GDP. As IFNW represents an intertemporal budget constraint, this implies that Norway’s savings are likely insufficient to address aging costs without additional fiscal action.
We construct a comprehensive public sector balance sheet for Finland from 2000 to 2016 by complementing general government statistics with data on public corporations and public pensions. We show that exposure to valuation changes in equity markets through asset holdings and increases in pension liabilities relative to GDP amplify crisis impacts on public finances. We expand the balance sheet by including present value estimates of future fiscal flows; this allows us to perform fiscal stress tests and policy experiments. These analyses suggest that Finland’s public finances will remain sound provided ongoing reform and consolidation efforts to address aging pressures are implemented as planned.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, and Michela Schena
This paper analyses the causes and consequences of fiscal consolidation promise gaps, defined as the distance between planned fiscal adjustments and actual consolidations. Using 74 consolidation episodes derived from the narrative approach in 17 advanced economies during 1978 – 2015, the paper shows that promise gaps were sizeable (about 0.3 percent of GDP per year, or 1.1 percent of GDP during an average fiscal adjustment episode). Both economic and political factors explain the gaps: for example, greater electoral proximity, stronger political cohesion and higher accountability were all associated with smaller promise gaps. Finally, governments which delivered on their fiscal consolidation plans were rewarded by financial markets and not penalized by voters.
This Selected Issues paper examines Finland’s sectoral balance sheets and how they have evolved since the global financial crisis; the analysis reveals that financial vulnerabilities have risen in most sectors. Indebtedness has increased for nonfinancial corporations (NFCs), households, and the government, increasing their financial fragility and vulnerability to shocks. Also, cross-border financial exposures have risen on both sides of Finland’s balance sheet. Specifically, banks’ balance sheets have grown considerably, largely owing to a rise in foreign liabilities. NFCs and the government have also relied in part on foreign investors to finance their debt increases.
This report has been compiled against a backdrop of political uncertainty and heightened security concerns. Public financial management (PFM) reforms may not be to the forefront of government priorities at present but severe budgetary pressures need to be addressed and measures adopted to help implement sustainable fiscal policy. The report focuses on immediate PFM reforms needs that help alleviate immediate budget pressures, and also identifies medium-term reforms to address long-standing weaknesses in PFM systems.
Mr. Richard I Allen, Yasemin Hurcan, Peter Murphy, Mr. Maximilien Queyranne, and Mr. Sami Yläoutinen
There is relatively little literature that analyses the role, functions, and organization of finance ministries. The purpose of this working paper is to review international experiences in this area, in an effort to formulate guiding principles of organizational design and the allocation of functions, while recognizing the crucial importance of each country’s history and institutional context. Over the past 30 years many finance ministries have moved from a “traditional” to an “emerging” model of organizational design in which there is greater openness and transparency, more flexible management practices, and a broader focus on strategic policy issues. In addition, many operational functions have been devolved to arm’s–length agencies or line ministries. The paper describes the challenges facing developing countries in strengthening their finance ministries, and the principles, approaches, and strategies that can be applied.