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Fiscal Sustainability in Aging Societies: Evidence from Euro Area Countries

María del Carmen Ramos-Herrera () and Simon Sosvilla-Rivero ()
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María del Carmen Ramos-Herrera: Department of Economic Analysis—Economic Theory, Autonomous University of Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 24, 1-20

Abstract: Fiscal sustainability remains a paramount challenge in the Euro Area (EA) countries after the sharp rise in public debt-to-GDP ratios in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. Using data from 11 EA countries over the period 1980–2019, we apply panel data techniques to examine the effects of population aging on fiscal sustainability, controlling for key macroeconomic variables. Our results suggest that the discretionary fiscal policy is strongly persistent, not being consistent with long-term fiscal solvency. Moreover, our results indicate that the fiscal stance is countercyclical for the countries under study and that population aging poses a major challenge for fiscal sustainability. The findings are robust to a different grouping of countries within the sample (core and peripheral countries, relatively old and young countries, and relatively more and less indebted countries). We consider that our results may have some practical meaning for national policymakers and international organizations responsible for regional and global fiscal surveillance and might shed some light on the possible effects that population aging could have on the effort of EA countries to restore public finances on a sustainable basis.

Keywords: fiscal sustainability; fiscal policy; population aging; fiscal solvency; Euro Area countries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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