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Trust in Government and Fiscal Adjustments

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Author Info

  • Dirk Bursian
  • Alfons Weichenrieder
  • Jochen Zimmer

Abstract

The paper looks at the determinants of fiscal adjustments as reflected in the primary surplus of countries. Our conjecture is that governments will usually find it more attractive to pursue fiscal adjustments in a situation of relatively high growth, but based on a simple stylized model of government behavior the expectation is that mainly high trust governments will be in a position to defer consolidation to years with higher growth. Overall, our analysis of a panel of European countries provides support for this expectation. The difference in fiscal policies depending on government trust levels may help explaining why better governed countries have been found to have less severe business cycles. It suggests that trust and credibility play an important role not only in monetary policy, but also in fiscal policy.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-06/cesifo1_wp4310.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4310.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4310

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Keywords: trust; debt sustainability; fiscal reaction function; euro area; EU;

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References

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  1. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Working Papers 17447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  3. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior Of U.S. Public Debt And Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963, August.
  4. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  5. Sumru Altug & Fabio Canova, 2012. "Do Institutions and Culture Matter for Business Cycles?," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1217, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  6. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Ostry, Jonathan D., 2008. "International evidence on fiscal solvency: Is fiscal policy "responsible"?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1081-1093, September.
  7. Friedrich Heinemann & Tanja Hennighausen, 2012. "Understanding Public Debt Preferences," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 68(4), pages 406-430, December.
  8. Lars P. Feld & Bruno S. Frey, 2000. "Trust Breeds Trust: How Taxpayers are Treated," CESifo Working Paper Series 322, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2011. "Trust in public institutions over the business cycle," Working Paper Series 2011-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1983. "Rules, Discretion and Reputation in a Model of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 1079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bursian, Dirk & Faia, Ester, 2013. "Trust in the monetary authority," SAFE Working Paper Series 14, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  13. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  14. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  15. Alesina, Alberto F & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2000. "Who Trusts Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Trehan, Bharat & Walsh, Carl E, 1991. "Testing Intertemporal Budget Constraints: Theory and Applications to U.S. Federal Budget and Current Account Deficits," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 206-23, May.
  17. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "The Sustainability of Government Deficits: Implications of the Present-Value Borrowing Constraint," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(3), pages 291-306, August.
  18. Hakkio, Craig S & Rush, Mark, 1991. "Is the Budget Deficit "Too Large?"," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(3), pages 429-45, July.
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