OECD Journal on Budgeting

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.

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Coping with fiscal risk

Analysis and practice

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


JEL: H5: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies; H12: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Crisis Management; H41: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods / Public Goods
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