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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. 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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  3. von Hagen, Jürgen & Wolff, Guntram B., 2004. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,38, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  4. Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2004. "Improving fiscal policy in the EU: the case for independent forecasts," European Economy - Economic Papers 210, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  5. Christopher Allsopp & Michael J. Artis, 2003. "The Assessment: EMU, Four Years On," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-29.
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  7. Peter S. Heller & Sanjeev Gupta, 2002. "More Aid—Making It Work for the Poor," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 3(4), pages 131-146, October.
  8. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2002. "The Stability and Growth Pact as an Impediment to Privatizing Social Security," NBER Working Papers 9278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Rolf Strauch & Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 2004. "Budgetary Forecasts in Europe – The Track Record of Stability and Convergence Programmes," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/42, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
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  14. Wyplosz, Charles, 2002. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3238, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. 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.
  16. Eichengreen, Barry, 2003. "Institutions for Fiscal Stability," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt34p6v7pt, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2007. "Fiscal Discipline as a Social Norm: The European Stability Pact," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-22, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  2. Leopold Diebalek & Walpurga Köhler-Töglhofer & Doris Prammer, 2006. "Reform of the Stability and Growth Pact," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 1, pages 78–109.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bernadeta Baran, 2012. "Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy Coordination Rules in the Monetary Union," Equilibrium, Uniwersytet Mikolaja Kopernika, vol. 7, pages 73-91.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/9909 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Rui Henrique Alves & Óscar Afonso, 2006. "The “New” Stability and Growth Pact: More Flexible, Less Stupid?," FEP Working Papers 218, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Jean-Paul Pollin & Jean-Luc Gaffard, 2013. "Pourquoi faut-il séparer les activités bancaires ?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1cud3763mom, Sciences Po.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Rui Henrique Alves & Óscar Afonso, 2007. "Fiscal Federalism in the European Union: How Far Are We?," FEP Working Papers 244, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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