The Economic Policy Department
The responsibility of the minister of finance as a member of the government is to develop and coordinate the government's economic policy. Although the political authorities - the government and the Storting - make the decisions, the Ministry of Finance is required to give expert advice before decisions are made.
The government presents its plans and proposals to the Storting every autumn in the National Budget and the fiscal budget, and each spring in the Revised National Budget. Before the budgets are presented, the Ministry of Finance gives advice on how much government expenditure can increase, the level of income tax and what taxes should be imposed to ensure that the central government can cover its expenditures.
The Economic Policy Department monitors and analyses economic trends in Norway and abroad, and gives advice in a number of areas of economic policy.
Important areas include production, consumption and investments, prices, wages, the labour market, foreign trade, and monetary and exchange rate policy. The Ministry of Finance also analyses the effects of the annual wage negotiations and wage settlements on the national and central government economy. The transfer of funds from central to local government is another important part of the Ministry's work. The Economic Policy Department is responsible for coordinating work on the national budget.
The Department also produces longer-term analyses and reports on subjects such as population trends, developments in income and living conditions, environmental issues, labour market trends, and on the subject of public services and public sector transfers. These analyses can be included in official government reports, Reports to the Storting (White Papers to the Norwegian parliament) or in the annual budget documents. The Economic Policy Department also has a special responsibility for issues of methodology with regard to economic planning and therefore maintains close links with academic and research communities.