A Net Worth Rule: Higher Debt for Higher Investment?

Yet another call for governments to abandon debt limits and focus instead on net worth! This time it’s in the United Kingdom, where an influential think tank, the Resolution Foundation, has proposed the replacement of the country’s debt rules with “a target to see net worth improving.” This is a bad idea that must be […]

Ending the Confusion on Medium-Term Expenditure Ceilings

Expenditure ceilings are a key instrument for achieving the objectives of medium-term budgeting. This is why the question of how to set appropriate and workable expenditure ceilings has been a major focus of public financial management over the past two decades. Erroneous notions as to what constitutes best practice in ceiling-setting have, however, been a […]

Making Spending Review Fit for Purpose

Spending review, as I wrote recently, will be needed more than ever in the post-pandemic era. Surely, then, it is encouraging that there has over the past decade been a major expansion in the number of countries practicing spending review? Well, yes, but there is a problem. The problem is that in some countries, the […]

10 and 20 us dollar bill

The Future US Debt Crisis

Faced with the pandemic, big deficits and increased debt are not only inevitable, but desirable – on a strictly temporary basis. This is something on which nearly all economists agree. But this does not mean that high debt has someone become acceptable in the longer term. In the longer term, it creates huge risks. The […]

Post-Pandemic Fiscal Consolidation?

Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget deficits of advanced economies are projected to reach 15 percent of GDP on average this year. Debt, already high, is set to increase by more than 20 percent of GDP. What can and should be done to fix public finances after the pandemic is over? The last thing […]

“Bigger Government” Podcast

To mark the publication today of Bigger Government: The Future of Government Expenditure in Advanced Economies, I am releasing a two episode podcast. The podcast is can be heard by clicking on this link, or may be heard on any of the main podcast directories (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, Stitcher, Listen Notes etc). Episode 1 […]

Is Austerity to Blame?

In many advanced countries, the parlous condition of public hospitals – due largely to inadequate funding – has been thrown into sharp relief by the coronavirus crisis. The United States, France and the United Kingdom are extreme examples. In these and other countries, many public hospitals were grossly stressed even before the pandemic, with patients […]