OECD Journal on Budgeting

The OECD Journal on Budgeting is 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, academics and experts in the field 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.

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Budget reform in OECD member countries

Common trends

From the early 1990s, the fiscal position of OECD member countries improved steadily each year, from a deficit of 5% of GDP for member countries as whole in 1993 to a perfect balance in the year 2000, i.e. neither a deficit nor a surplus. In 2001, member countries experienced a deficit of 1% of GDP. Table 1 depicts the general government financial balances of selected OECD member countries. This goes to show the historical pattern in member countries: achieving fiscal consolidation is a slow process and successes in fiscal consolidation can quickly dissipate. A very short time ago, several OECD member countries believed that they were on a long-term track for fiscal surpluses; the era of deficits had been overcome. This did not turn out to be the case; surpluses turned out to be a very short-lived phenomenon for many countries.

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