Fiscal Sustainability And Fiscal Reaction Functions In The US And UK

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Philippe Burger

Keywords

Fiscal Sustainability, Fiscal Reaction Function, Public Debt, Deficits

Abstract

Following the 2008/9 financial and economic crisis, public debt/GDP ratios in several countries rose to their highest levels in 40 years. Also in the US and the UK did the public debt/GDP ratios increase significantly, thereby putting the spotlight again on fiscal sustainability. Based on past behaviour, this article asks whether fiscal policy in these two countries is likely to be sustainable. The article investigates how the US and UK governments, by changing their deficits, react to changes in their debt positions. To do this, the article estimates fiscal reaction functions using Smooth Transition Regressions. It finds that based on past behaviour, fiscal policy in both the US and UK can be expected to remain sustainable. Based on the same past behaviour, and assuming this behaviour will continue in the future, the article also calculates the levels to which the public debt/GDP ratios in the US and UK can be expected to converge.

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