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August 1977

Estimates of the High-Employment Budget and Changes in Potential Output

by Keith M. Carlson

One of the more novel approaches to the problem of assessing the impact of the Federal budget on economic activity was the development of the concept of the high-employment budget. The purpose of this concept was to standardize the budget position on some high-employment norm amid thereby remove the effect of variations in economic activity on the measured budget surplus or deficit. Proponents of the high-employment budget argue that estimation of the Federal budget at an assumed full—employment level of activity provides a better measure of tile impact of the budget on the economy than the actual surplus or deficit.