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Institutions for Fiscal Stability

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  • Eichengreen, Barry

Abstract

This paper reviews the controversy over Europe’s Stability and Growth Pact and offers a proposal for its reform. It argues that Europe would be best served by focusing on the fundamental causes of unsustainable debts — public enterprises that are too big to fail, unfunded public pension schemes that are too big to ignore, inefficient and costly labor market and social welfare problems, and budget making institutions that create common pool and free-rider problems — rather than on arbitrary numerical indicators like whether the budget deficit is above or below 3 per cent of GDP. It proposes defining an index of institutional reform with, say, a point each for reform of budget making arrangements, reform of public pension schemes, and reform of labor markets and unemployment insurance. Countries receiving three points would be exempt from the Pact’s numerical guidelines, since there is no reason to think that they will be prone to chronic deficits. The others, whose weak institutions render them susceptible to chronic deficits, would in contrast still be subject to its warnings, sanctions and fines. Keywords: Stability Pact, fiscal policy, Europe

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley in its series Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt34p6v7pt.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:bineur:qt34p6v7pt

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Related research

Keywords: Center for German and European Studies; economy; finance; PEIF; working paper;

References

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  1. International Monetary Fund, 1996. "Budget Processes and Commitment to Fiscal Discipline," IMF Working Papers 96/78, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S., 2002. "One Money, But Many Fiscal Policies in Europe: What are the Consequences?," Discussion Paper 2002-32, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Jürgen Von Hagen, 1999. "Reforming Budgetary Institutions in Latin America: The Case for a National Fiscal Council," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 415-442, October.
  4. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Lans Bovenberg, A., 1998. "Monetary union without fiscal coordination may discipline policymakers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 239-258, August.
  5. von Hagen, Jürgen, 1998. "Budgeting institutions for aggregate fiscal discipline," ZEI Working Papers B 01-1998, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  6. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2003. "Symbiosis of monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-247, August.
  7. M. Buti & D. Franco & H. Ongena, 1997. "Budgetary Policies during Recessions - Retrospective Application of the "Stability and Growth Pact" to the Post-War Period," European Economy - Economic Papers 121, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  8. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1998. "The Stability Pact: more than a minor nuisance?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 65-113, 04.
  9. Marco Buti & Sylvester Eijffinger & Daniele Franco, 2003. "Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," European Economy - Economic Papers 180, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  10. Gleich, Holger, 2003. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Central and Eastern European countries," Working Paper Series 0215, European Central Bank.
  11. Buiter, Willem H & Grafe, Clemens, 2002. "Patching up the Pact: some Suggestions for Enhancing Fiscal Sustainability and Macroeconomic Stability in an Enlarged European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 3496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Ercolani, Valerio, 2002. "Cyclical and Structural Deficits on the Road to Accession: Fiscal Rules for an Enlarged European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 3672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Larch, Martin & Jonung, Lars & Fischer, Jonas, 2008. "101 proposals to reform the Stability and Growth Pact. Why so many? A survey," MPRA Paper 20592, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Franco, Daniele, 2005. "The Stability Pact Pains: A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate," CEPR Discussion Papers 5216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Barry Eichengreen, 2007. "The Breakup of the Euro Area," NBER Working Papers 13393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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