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Is Lisbon far from Maastricht? Trade-offs and Complementarities between Fiscal Discipline and Structural Reforms

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  • Buti, Marco
  • Röger, Werner
  • Turrini, Alessandro Antonio

Abstract

While according to the so-called “Brussels-Frankfurt consensus” sound fiscal policies and structural reforms support each other, it is often claimed that the EU fiscal framework, by reducing the budgetary room of manoeuvre and the political capital of governments, may deter reforms. The aim of this paper is to explore which factors determine the relation between fiscal discipline and reforms. By means of a simple model we show that, depending on the time horizon of the government, structural reforms may either be complement or substitute with fiscal discipline. If governments are forward-looking, substitution is more likely; if governments are short-sighted, reforms and fiscal discipline may become complement. We provide empirical evidence supporting this argument. In a sample of EU-15 countries over the past three decades, the introduction of the Maastricht constraints at the beginning of the 1990s does not seem to have affected the probability of labour market reforms on average, but had a positive and significant impact on countries with governments facing elections in the current or forthcoming year (which are hence assumed to behave myopically). Our results suggest that if governments are short-sighted, then the expectation that relaxing fiscal constraints may help to boost structural reforms may be ill-founded.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6204.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6204

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Keywords: Economic effects of deficits; Stability and Growth Pact; structural reforms;

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References

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  1. Romain Duval & Jørgen Elmeskov, 2005. "The Effects of EMU on Structural Reforms in Labour and Product Markets," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 438, OECD Publishing.
  2. Marco Buti & Lucio R. Pench, 2004. "Why Do Large Countries Flout the Stability Pact? And What Can Be Done About It?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(5), pages 1025-1032, December.
  3. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta, 2003. "Regulation, Productivity and Growth: OECD Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 347, OECD Publishing.
  4. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 2002. "The Stability and Growth Pact as an Impediment to Privatizing Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 3621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. André Sapir & Philippe Aghion & Giuseppe Bertola & Martin Hellwig & Jean Pisani-Ferry & Bernard Lange & José Viñals & Helen Wallace & Marco Buti & Mario Nava & Peter Smith, 2004. "An agenda for a growing Europe: the Sapir report," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8070, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  14. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "An estimated dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the euro area," Working Paper Research 35, National Bank of Belgium.
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  16. Hallett, Andrew Hughes & Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard & Richter, Christian, 2005. "The European economy at the cross roads: Structural reforms, fiscal constraints, and the Lisbon Agenda," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 229-250, June.
  17. Perotti, Roberto, 2002. "Estimating the effects of fiscal policy in OECD countries," Working Paper Series 0168, European Central Bank.
  18. Marco Buti & Paul Noord, 2004. "Fiscal Discretion and Elections in the Early Years of EMU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 737-756, November.
  19. Khalid Sekkat & Marco Buti & Carlos Martinez-Mongay & Paul van den Noord, 2003. "Automatic fiscal stabilisers in EMU: a conflict between efficiency and stabilization?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7354, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Alessandro Girardi & Paolo Paesani, 2008. "Structural Reforms and Fiscal Discipline in Europe," Transition Studies Review, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 389-402, September.
  2. Biroli, Pietro & Buti, Marco & Turrini, Alessandro Antonio & Van Den Noord, Paul, 2008. "Defying the 'Juncker Curse’: Can Reformist Governments Be Re-elected?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6875, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ali Bayar & Bram Smeets, 2009. "Government Deficits in the European Union: An Analysis of Entry and Exit Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 2703, CESifo Group Munich.

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