The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Generational Accounting

  • Jagadeesh Gokhale
Reference work entry


Many government programmes transfer resources between different population groups. Programmes to provide retirement and health security levy taxes on workers to finance transfers to retirees. Initiating or expanding such programmes often redistributes wealth across generations by altering their lifetime tax burdens. Although standard budget measures such as national debt and deficits do not fully reflect them, such public intergenerational redistributions could substantially affect different generations’ economic choices. Generational accounting measures the size of prospective net tax burdens facing different generations under current government tax and expenditure policies. It also analyses how those fiscal burdens would change under alternative policies.


Aging populations Budget deficits Consumption Fiscal burden Fiscal policy Generational accounting Generational balance Gifts Government intertemporal budget constraint Inheritance and bequests Intergenerational transfers Income taxes Labour productivity Labour supply Labour-force participation Lifetime net tax rates National debt Redistribution of income and wealth Risk Saving Sensitivity analysis Social insurance Wealth 

JEL Classifications

A1 H5 D4 D10 H23 H60 H69 E62 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jagadeesh Gokhale
    • 1
  1. 1.