OECD Economics Department Working Papers

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Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Accounting for One-off Operations when Assessing Underlying Fiscal Positions You or your institution have access to this content

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Isabelle Joumard1, Makoto Minegishi1, Christophe André1, Chantal Nicq1, Robert W.R. Price
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

30 Sep 2008
Bibliographic information

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Frequent recourse to large one-off operations in a number of OECD countries has undermined the accuracy of cyclically adjusted fiscal balances as a measure of both the sustainability of public finance and the fiscal stance. This paper first provides detailed information on the nature and amount of these one-offs for 9 OECD countries. The paper then presents a new indicator – the "underlying" fiscal balance – which effectively eliminates the impact of one-offs and cyclical developments. One-offs are derived as the deviations from trend in net capital transfers, i.e. from widely available national account data. This approach provides a consistent treatment of one-offs both across countries and over time, avoiding the potential information biases which could result from an individual identification of one-offs.
fiscal balances, cyclically-adjusted budget balance
JEL Classification:
  • E62: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook / Fiscal Policy
  • H30: Public Economics / Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents / General
  • H60: Public Economics / National Budget, Deficit, and Debt / General