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Received Wisdom and Beyond: Lessons from Fiscal Consolidation in the EU

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Author Info

  • Martin Larch

    ()

  • Alessandro Turrini

    (European Commission, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs)

Abstract

Restoring sustainable public finances in the aftermath of the Great Recession is a key challenge in most EU countries. In order to learn from history, our paper examines consolidation episodes in the EU since 1970. We shed light on the factors that favour the start of a consolidation episode and determine its success. Compared to the existing literature, we add a number of new dimensions in the analysis. First, we explore a broader set of potential ingredients of the ‘recipe for success’, including the quality and strength of fiscal governance and the implementation of structural reforms. Secondly, we check whether the ‘recipe for success’ changed over time. Our analysis broadly confirms received wisdom concerning the conditions triggering a consolidation episode and the role of the composition of adjustment for success, with some qualifications related to the role played by government wages. In addition it provides evidence that well-designed fiscal governance as well as structural reforms improve the odds of both starting a consolidation episode and achieving a lasting fiscal correction. We also show that, over time, successful and unsuccessful consolidation episodes have become more similar in terms of adjustment composition.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its journal National Institute Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 217 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: R1-R18

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Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:217:y:2011:i:1:p:r1-r18

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Keywords: Fiscal consolidations; fiscal rules; budgetary procedures; structural reforms;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pessoa, Argentino, 2011. "The Euro Area sovereign debt crisis: Some implications of its systemic dimension," MPRA Paper 35328, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. repec:cge:warwcg:70 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Niamh Hardiman & Muiris MacCarthaigh, 2013. "How Governments Retrench In Crisis: The Case of Ireland," Working Papers 201315, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  4. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "Western Europe’s Growth Prospects: an Historical Perspective," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 71, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  5. T. Buyse & F. Heylen, 2012. "Leaving the empirical (battle)ground: Output and welfare effects of fiscal consolidation in general equilibrium," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/826, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. Charles Amo Yartey & Machiko Narita & Garth Peron Nicholls & Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, 2012. "The Challenges of Fiscal Consolidation and Debt Reduction in the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 12/276, International Monetary Fund.
  7. F. Heylen & A. Hoebeeck & T. Buyse, 2011. "Fiscal consolidation, institutions and institutional reform: a multivariate analysis of public debt dynamics," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 11/763, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  8. Heylen, Freddy & Hoebeeck, Annelies & Buyse, Tim, 2013. "Government efficiency, institutions, and the effects of fiscal consolidation on public debt," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 40-59.
  9. Georgia Kaplanoglou & Vassilis T. Rapanos, 2011. "The Greek fiscal crisis and the role of fiscal governance," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36432, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. David Lodge & Marta Rodriguez-Vives, 2013. "How long can austerity persist? The factors that sustain fiscal consolidations," European Journal of Government and Economics, Europa Grande, vol. 2(1), pages 5-24, June.
  11. Boris Cournède & Antoine Goujard & Álvaro Pina, 2013. "How to Achieve Growth- and Equity-friendly Fiscal Consolidation?: A Proposed Methodology for Instrument Choice with an Illustrative Application to OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1088, OECD Publishing.

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