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The Stability Pact Pains: A Forward-Looking Assessment of the Reform Debate

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  • Buti, Marco
  • Eijffinger, Sylvester C W
  • Franco, Daniele

Abstract

The Stability and Growth Pact has been under fire ever since it was born. But is the Pact a flawed fiscal rule? Against established criteria for an ideal fiscal rule, its design and compliance mechanisms show strengths and weaknesses. The latter tend to reflect trade-offs typical of supra-national arrangements. In the end, only a higher degree of fiscal integration would remove the inflexibility inherent in the recourse to predefined budgetary rules. No alternative solution put forward in the literature appears clearly superior. This does not mean that the original Pact of 1997 could not be improved. The debate on the SGP has shown that any reform should aim at overcoming the excessive uniformity of the rules, improving their transparency, correcting pro-cyclicality and strengthening enforcement. The reform of the Pact agreed in 2005 moves in this direction but leaves open a number of issues.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5216.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5216

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Keywords: economic and monetary union; fiscal policy; fiscal rules; Stability and Growth Pact;

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References

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  1. Vincent Koen & Paul van den Noord, 2005. "Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe: One-Off Measures and Creative Accounting," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 417, OECD Publishing.
  2. Blanchard, Olivier J & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2004. "Improving the SGP Through a Proper Accounting of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 4220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Wyplosz, Charles, 2002. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3238, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C W & Franco, Daniele, 2003. "Revisiting the Stability and Growth Pact: Grand Design or Internal Adjustment?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3692, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jean-Luc Gaffard & Jean-Paul Pollin, 2013. "Pourquoi faut-il séparer les activités bancaires ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1cud3763mom, Sciences Po.
  2. Beetsma, Roel & Ribeiro, Marcos Poplawski & Schabert, Andreas, 2008. "A Comparison of Debt and Primary-deficit Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 6897, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Köhler-Töglhofer, Walpurga & Prammer, Doris & Diebalek, Leopold, 2006. "Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 1, pages 78–109.
  4. Marco Buti, 2006. "Will the new stability and growth pact succeed? An economic and political perspective," European Economy - Economic Papers 241, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  5. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "Fiscal Discipline as a Social Norm: The European Stability Pact," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9909, Sciences Po.
  6. Martin Larch & Jo�o Nogueira Martins, 2007. "Fiscal indicators - Proceedings of the the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs Workshop held on 22 September 2006 in Brussels," European Economy - Economic Papers 297, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  7. Buti, Marco & Sapir, André, 2006. "Fiscal Policy in Europe: The Past and Future of EMU Rules from the Perspective of Musgrave and Buchanan," CEPR Discussion Papers 5830, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Óscar Afonso & Rui Henrique Alves, 2006. "“To Deficit or Not to Deficit”: Should European Fiscal Rules Differ Among Countries?," FEP Working Papers 219, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  9. Fiorella Kostoris Padoa Schioppa, 2006. "The 2005 Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact: Too Little, Too Late?," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 6, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
  10. Carlo Panico & Francesco Purificato, 2012. "The Role of Institutional and Political Factors in the European Debt Crisis," Working Papers wp280, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  11. Rui Alves & Oscar Afonso, 2007. "The "New" Stability and Growth Pact: More Flexible, Less Stupid?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 218-225, July.
  12. Muscatelli, Vito A. & Natale, Piergiovanna & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2012. "A simple and flexible alternative to Stability and Growth Pact deficit ceilings. Is it at hand?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 14-26.
  13. Bernadeta Baran, 2012. "Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy Coordination Rules in the Monetary Union," Equilibrium, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Mikolaja Kopernika, vol. 7, pages 73-91.
  14. Edoardo Gaffeo & Giuliana Passamani & Roberto Tamborini, 2005. "Fiscal and monetary policy, unfortunate events, and the SGP arithmetics - Evidence from a growth-gaps model," Department of Economics Working Papers 0519, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

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