OECD Journal on Budgeting

Frequency :
3 times a year
ISSN :
1681-2336 (online)
ISSN :
1608-7143 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/16812336
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The OECD journal on public sector budgeting, published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal subscription package.

Also available in: French
 

Latest Articles Hide / Show all Abstracts

Mark Number Date Article Volume and Issue Click to Access
  22 Dec 2014 The abuse and misuse of the term "Austerity" Implications for OECD countries
Barry Anderson, Elizabeth Minneman

Austerity has become a widely used term in economic research and popular media as many countries have recently implemented deficit reduction policies. This article begins by exploring definitions of austerity used in research and the ways these different definitions impact analysis of policy effects. The article then takes into account a number of factors that can affect the outcome of these so-called austerity measures, including economic conditions, time period, and parties impacted by the policies. Without a clear definition of austerity and the contexts under which it is implemented, a conclusive analysis of austerity’s effects cannot be conducted. This article concludes that the term "austerity" will remain a confusing term that can breed misunderstanding, social uprisings, political unrest, and ill-prescribed solutions to economic problems.

JEL classification: H10, H12, H41, H60
Keywords: Austerity, spending cuts, deficits, tax increases, recession

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214221ec004.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-abuse-and-misuse-of-the-term-austerity-implications-for-oecd-countries_budget-14-5jxrmdxc6sq1
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  22 Dec 2014 The challenge of budgeting for healthcare programmes
Joseph White

The OECD has created a Joint Network on Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems. This article, developed as input to that project, seeks to summarise both why budgeting for healthcare is particularly challenging and why the challenge is often misunderstood. I argue that sustainability is a political, not fiscal, issue; that common explanations of increased spending, such as "ageing" and "technology", are either inaccurate or unhelpful; and that the nature of public support for healthcare means that standard budgetary worldviews may not be appropriate in a representative system. For example, both a focus on "fiscal space" and distrust of dedicated revenues may be contrary to budgetary values of both representation and balance. I offer explanations of why demand for healthcare spending both is peculiarly intense and tends to expand because notions of "necessary" care expand. Budget-making is made more difficult by a uniquely confusing proliferation of ideas about how to control spending, many of which are supported more by disciplinary biases than by hard evidence. I conclude by considering the impact of two structural features: whether services are delivered by a bureau or as an entitlement, and whether it is funded by dedicated revenues. The challenges can be met, but hardheaded and sceptical budget analysis is especially important.

JEL classification: H51, H6, E62, H2, I1, J11, O33, P16, Z18
Keywords: Budgeting, healthcare spending, ageing society, Baumol’s disease, dedicated revenues, efficiency, entitlements, redistribution, technology, unsustainability

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214221ec003.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-challenge-of-budgeting-for-healthcare-programmes_budget-14-5jxst2mfm923
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  22 Dec 2014 Coping with fiscal risk
George Kopits

Against the background of the recent financial crisis that in many countries metastasised into significant fiscal stress, this article reviews the analysis, management and mitigation of fiscal risks. On the basis of the classification of specific, general and systemic types, fiscal risks have been estimated directly, and more recently, through sensitivity tests on baseline macro-fiscal projections. Although still at an experimental stage, valuable insights have been gained for implementation of various stochastic methods. The article draws a number of lessons for improved management and mitigation of fiscal risks from a recent OECD survey of country practices. This suggests scope for improvement on a number of fronts: disclosure and estimation of risks; assignment of such tasks within the public sector; adoption of various insurance schemes; building special-purpose reserves; and enacting well-designed fiscal rules, along with effective no-bailout provisions. At the policy level, it is necessary to adopt a countercyclical policy stance especially during economic booms; to enforce transparent accounting and forecasting practices; and where necessary, to undertake structural reform in key areas. An additional overarching lesson from the financial crisis is the need to assess and prevent systemic fiscal risk through close co-ordination with an independent macroprudential supervisory authority.

JEL classification: H5, H12, H41
Keywords: Fiscal risk, fiscal rules, countercyclical policy, systemic risk, stochastic methods

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214221ec005.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/coping-with-fiscal-risk_budget-14-5jxrgssdqnlt
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  22 Dec 2014 How to deal with contingent liabilities – Lessons from the Dutch experience
Heleen M.J. Hofmans, Clement R. van de Coevering

commission has reviewed all the guarantees, loans and financial interventions provided by the Dutch government. This review shows that policy makers often perceive these measures as a "free lunch", do-not-ask (sufficiently high) premiums and do-not-build reserves to cover potential damages. The commission concluded that the Dutch government needs to reduce these measures where possible (e.g. by including sunset clauses), implement policies that reduce implicit risks, increase transparency, and consider asking for an external opinion regarding premiums in case of large and complex risks. Also internationally, an increased focus on budget systems that ensure transparency and provide the right incentives is necessary, as in recent years contingent liabilities increased while government finances deteriorated, making countries less resilient to these risks. Countries seem to use very different definitions and reporting methods with regard to contingent liabilities, making an international comparison and monitoring very difficult.

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214221ec002.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/how-to-deal-with-contingent-liabilities-lessons-from-the-dutch-experience_budget-14-5jxv7kmx9fbq
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  22 Dec 2014 Economic and fiscal management under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration
Hideaki Tanaka

Japan experienced a major change of government in September 2009. It was a remarkable political event, because Japanese politics was dominated by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in almost all the years following the end of World War ll. The new coalition government led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) tried to overhaul and restructure public administration and policy making in order to strengthen political leadership. In particular, they wanted to reform budgetary institutions as they fully recognised the LDP governments’ wasted public money that brought about huge fiscal deficits. They introduced new medium-term fiscal targets and planning, programme reviews, and tax expenditure report, and legislated laws to increase the rate of consumption tax from 5% to 10%. However their reforms were not successful as expected and ended in larger fiscal deficits. This paper analyses the economic and fiscal management of the DPJ Administration and why they couldn’t succeed in reforming budgetary institutions.

Volume 14 Issue 1 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4214221ec001.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/economic-and-fiscal-management-under-the-democratic-party-of-japan-dpj-administration_budget-14-5jxv7kmxbkhf
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  04 Nov 2014 Estimates of uncertainty around Australian budget forecasts
John Clark, Caroline Gibbons, Susan Morrissey, Joshua Pooley, Emily Pye, Rhett Wilcox, Luke Willard

In this article, past forecast errors are used to construct confidence intervals around Australian Government Budget forecasts of key economic and fiscal variables. These confidence intervals provide an indication of the extent of uncertainty around the point estimate forecasts presented in the Budget.

JEL classification numbers: E17, H68.
Keywords: Confidence intervals, forecast errors, government budget, nominal GDP, real GDP, treasury, uncertainty.

Volume 13 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4213031ec004.pdf
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  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/estimates-of-uncertainty-around-australian-budget-forecasts_budget-13-5jxvd4xlns7j
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  04 Nov 2014 The Swedish pension system after twenty years
Kent Weaver, Alexander Willén

Elements of the Swedish pension reform enacted in the 1990s have served as a model for reform initiatives in a number of other countries. Sweden’s experience suggests that a Notional Defined Contribution (NDC) pension reform can be sustained in a supportive political environment, but it has not been immune to electoral pressures to prevent visible cuts in pension benefits. Moreover, efforts to lengthen working lives have encountered major barriers both in the way that the state pension system is perceived and in the structure of the occupational pension system. Design of Sweden’s individual account tier has major successes in lowering administrative costs and in providing information across sources of retirement income, but efforts to increase active engagement in selecting retirement savings portfolios have faltered. Sweden has modified its new pension system in several ways over the past decade to address perceived problems and political concerns, and debates are now arising on a "Pension Reform 2.0" package of more comprehensive changes.

JEL classification: H5, H55.
Keywords: Pension reform, pension system, income contribution, retirement, stabilising mechanisms.

Volume 13 Issue 3 Click to Access: 
    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/4213031ec001.pdf
  • PDF
  • http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/the-swedish-pension-system-after-twenty-years_budget-13-5jxx3sx58x9t
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