Fiscal sustainability and the financial cycle

Working Papers No 552
March 2016

A frequently neglected aspect of financial booms and busts - financial cycles - is their impact on fiscal positions. And yet, the latest financial crisis and history show that these cycles can wreak havoc with public finances. After reviewing the impact of financial cycles on fiscal positions, we offer a new tool to estimate cyclically adjusted balances, illustrate its performance, explore its strengths and weaknesses, and sketch out a way forward to measuring sustainability in a more holistic way.

JEL classification: H30, H62, E44, E52, E60

Keywords: financial cycle, financial crisis, cyclically adjusted fiscal balance