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CPB and Dutch fiscal policy in view of the financial crisis and ageing

CPB Document 218, 17 December 2010

Independent national fiscal institutions can play a major role in fiscal policy and in maintaining and restoring sustainability of a country's public finance.

This paper describes the role of CPB in Dutch fiscal policy and discusses its merits and risks. And to what extent can it provide lessons for improving decision-making on fiscal policy in other countries?

In the second part, the Dutch fiscal targets and rules are discussed in view of the rising costs of ageing, the depletion of natural gas resources and the financial crisis. In the Netherlands, for already 65 years, CPB serves as the official expert institute for fiscal and economic policy. It does not only serve the government, but meets also requests from opposition parties, trade unions and employers' organizations. The reputation of quality and independence had to be earned and defended again and again. Its eminent founder and first director, Jan Tinbergen, was responsible for a very good start.

CPB has a more comprehensive role than comparable institutions in other countries. This includes e.g. providing the official estimates on economic growth and purchasing power, analysis of the sustainability of Dutch public finance, costs-benefit analysis of major infrastructure projects, analysis of the economic effects of the election plans of Dutch political parties and all kinds of analyses on the Dutch economy and the role of the government.

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