In this chapter, Peter Dungan investigates the sensitivity of Canadian government fiscal balances to alternative long-run productivity growth rates using elements of the FOCUS macroeconometric model to conduct simulations on a 'base-case' projection of the Canadian economy, and of its fiscal detail, through the year 2030. The simulation strategy employed here in part parallels the technique used by the Department of Finance in recent budgets and fiscal statements to estimate the implicit size of the 'fiscal dividend'. A total of five alternative growth paths and sensitivity tests are presented.
As Dungan points out changes in productivity growth rates can occur for a variety of reasons and can have many different possible effects on the economy. Therefore, these types of simulation exercises inevitably require a number of simplifying assumptions which must be taken into account in interpreting the results.