July 8, 2007

The Dutch fiscal framework; history, current practice and the role of the CPB

According to the IMF and the OECD, the Dutch fiscal framework is rather unique, and its design and implementation are highly recommendable.

Major features of the Dutch fiscal framework are the trend-based fiscal framework with real net expenditure ceilings for the whole term of government, the role of independent organisations, like the CPB, Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands Court of Audit, and the intermediary role of the national advisory group on budgetary principles.

This paper discusses the current practice of the Dutch fiscal framework, including the role played by the CPB. It also provides an overview of its history. Three periods are distinguished: the balanced budget as official principle (1814-1956), Keynesian deficit norms (1957-1979) and norms for reducing deficit and debt (1980-present).