Global Aging Pressures: Impact of Fiscal Adjustment, Policy Cooperation, and Structural Reforms
Dennis P. J. Botman
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department
April 3, 2008
This paper undertakes a rigorous analysis of the effects of policies to respond to the looming demographic pressures in Europe and elsewhere. We examine the impact of fiscal adjustment by itself, and when pursued in combination with tax, labor and product market reforms, using the IMF’s Global Fiscal Model (GFM). The model is calibrated to the German economy, as well as to the euro area, and the United States and used to simulate the growth effects of alternative fiscal adjustment strategies to maintain debt sustainability, particularly in the face of global aging pressures. We also explore the international spill-over effects of demographic pressures and associated fiscal adjustment, and the benefits of cooperative action. In addition, we examine the extent to which structural reforms (including tax reform) to boost productivity growth, labor participation, and product market competition could ameliorate the adverse short-term effects of adjustment. The results suggest (i) substantial spill-over effects of aging on debt sustainability through international financial channels; (ii) the preferred adjustment package is broad-based relying on both revenue and expenditure measures while avoiding increases in direct taxes; and (iii) there are substantial benefits from fiscal cooperation. Nonetheless, even a cooperative response has initial contractionary effects, and we show that these effects can be offset by combining fiscal adjustment with expeditious implementation of structural reforms in product and labor markets, as envisaged in the Lisbon Agenda. Moreover, the benefits accrue early and to all income-groups if the reforms are implemented as part of a package.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: Global aging, fiscal adjustment, fiscal cooperation, Lisbon Agenda, IMF’s Global Fiscal Model
JEL Classification: E62, F41, F42, H30, H55, H62working papers series
Date posted: February 2, 2012
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