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Tax Smoothing Discretion Versus Balanced Budget Rules in the Presence of Politically Motivated Fiscal Deficits: The Design of Optimal Fiscal Rules for Europe after 1992

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  • Corsetti, Giancarlo
  • Roubini, Nouriel

Abstract

We analyse the arguments in favour and against binding fiscal rules such as those recently agreed by European countries as preconditions for participation in the third phase of the European Monetary Union. The evidence in the paper suggests that a number of EC countries are following unsustainable fiscal policies and that this `deficits bias' may be partly due to political distortions. Binding balanced budget rules would eliminate the deficits bias that appears in the presence of such distortions, but would also prevent the use of potentially beneficial tax-smoothing budget deficits in response to transitory shocks. More flexible fiscal rules enforced by credible sanctions against deviant countries appear to be superior to rigid balanced-budget rules and discretionary equilibria.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 682.

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Date of creation: Aug 1992
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:682

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Keywords: Fiscal Deficits; Fiscal Rules; Political Economy;

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Cited by:
  1. David R. Stockman, 2004. "Default, Reputation and Balanced-Budget Rules," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 382-405, April.
  2. Heinemann, Friedrich, 1994. "Verschuldungsanreize in der Wirtschafts- und Währungsunion," ZEW Discussion Papers 94-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Jonathan Millar, 1997. "The Effects of Budget Rules on Fiscal Performance and Macroeconomic Stabilization," Working Papers 97-15, Bank of Canada.
  4. Alexia Prskawetz & Gustav Feichtinger & Mikulàš Luptàčik, 1998. "The accomplishment of the Maastricht criteria with respect to initial debt," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 93-110, June.
  5. Fabrizio Carmignani, 2003. "Political Instability, Uncertainty and Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-54, February.
  6. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2003. "Decentralized Taxation and the Size of Government: Evidence from Swiss State and Local Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 1087, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Fabrizio Carmignani, 2000. "Political Bias in Fiscal Policy Formation: an Econometric Analysis of Coalition Systems," Working Papers 28, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2000.
  8. Javier A. Gutierrez & Carolina Guzmán & Ulpiano J. Jiménez, 2000. "Economía política y finanzas públicas: teoría, evidencia y resultados de laboratorio," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 2(3), pages 104-148, July-dece.
  9. Heipertz, Martin, 2003. "The Stability and Growth Pact - Not the best but better than nothing. Reviewing the debate on fiscal policy in Europe's Monetary Union," MPIfG Working Paper 03/10, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  10. Mourmouras, Iannis A. & Su, Dou-Ming, 1995. "Central bank independence, policy reforms and the credibility of public debt stabilizations," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 189-204, March.

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