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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Countering Uncertainty in Budget Forecasts

Federal budget procedures in the United States require forecasts and projections over several distinct periods of time: short term (18-24 months ahead), medium term (both 5- and 10-year horizons), and long term (as much as 75 years in the future). In the United States, the intermediate estimates have taken on increased significance with many press accounts referring to 10-year estimates. In addition to various time periods, the forecasts include the outlook for both the economy and the budget. Economic forecasts not only drive the budgetary outlook, they also provide the basis for developing economic policy. And despite the linkage between economic and budgetary performance, the relationships are neither perfect nor constant. The status of these two requirements has evolved, particularly since the enactment of the Budget Act in 1974 creating the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The Executive branch forecasts (done mainly by the Office of Management and Budget, OMB) tend to parallel the time periods. Often many of the economic results are similar, especially over a 10-year forecast; the budget estimates vary more widely...

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