n South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences - Countercyclical fiscal policy in South Africa : role and impact of automatic fiscal stabilisers

Volume 6, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-8812
  • E-ISSN: 2222-3436



As actual budget balances reflect both cyclical developments and discretionary measures, they are not very useful when seeking to assess the orientation of underlying fiscal policy and possible structural imbalances in the budget balance. The influence of fluctuations in economic growth on the government's budget balance can be examined by decomposing the actual budget into a cyclical and a structural or cyclically adjusted component. The former component shows the effect on the government budget of cyclical fluctuations in economic activity, the latter reflects what the budget balance would be if economic activity were at its trend level. This paper calculates the extent to which fiscal policy stabilises output fluctuations in South Africa and estimates the cyclically adjusted budget balance of the consolidated general government as an alternative fiscal indicator that can contribute to more effective fiscal policy and fiscal analysis.

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