Diskussionsbeiträge, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau 95
This paper focuses on the problems involved in developing cross-country comparisons of the intergenerational stance of fiscal policy. Of course, these comparisons are nowadays based on the method of generational accounting and in particular most of them rely on comparing the total size of intertemporal public liabilities (IPLs). I first utilize the machinery of generational accounting in order to calculate the composition of the countries` IPLs, that is the sum of explicit and implicit liabilities embedded in the respective fiscal policies for several European countries and the United States. The findings suggest that the ranking in a cross-country comparison is very sensitive to a) the legal settings concerning social transfer adjustment over time, b) the degree to which unreliable or time-inconsistent reforms are taken into account, c) the respective countries` business cycle status in the base-year. The second aim of this paper is to outline recent and future applications of generational accounting.