We present a model of public finance for the Czech Republic that addresses the main sources of risks to long-term fiscal sustainability: ageing-related expenditures and revenues, and the corresponding evolution of government debt. The baseline model is based on recent demographic projections issued by the Czech Statistical Office that forecast a shrinking share of the working-age population. Along with regulations and microeconomic incentives embedded in the tax and expenditure systems, demographic developments will affect economic growth and government expenditure and revenues in the long run. Population ageing is found to have a significant impact on future government expenditure via spending on old-age pensions and health care, where the cost profiles are modelled to reflect technological progress in the treatment of ageing-related illnesses. The analysis shows that under the current policy settings, a compound demographic effect will cause the primary government balance to turn negative at the beginning of the 2030s. The growing primary deficits, along with interest payments, which react to debt dynamics, will lead to a rapid escalation of government debt. While the outcome of the model is dependent on the specific settings of macroeconomic trends and policy variables, our wide range of sensitivity analyses show that without a policy response, even the most optimistic population scenario delivers an unsustainable path for public finances.
JEL codes: B6, B12, B52, Z80
Keywords: Ageing, debt, demographics, fiscal sustainability, health care expenditure, old-age pension expenditure
Issued: July 2017
Download: RPN No. 2/2017 (pdf, 1.6 MB)