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How reliable are the statistics for the Stability and Growth Pact?

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  • Lu�s Gordo Mora
  • Jo�o Nogueira Martins

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to assess the reliability of the government deficit and debt figures reported to the European Commission by Member States. Reliability is one of the several dimensions of quality in statistics; it refers to the magnitudes of data revisions after the publication of the first outcomes. The measurement of the data reliability and inference about potential future revisions are particularly relevant for fiscal surveillance in the EU since statistical institutes take a long time - usually four years - to provide final data, while the decisions on the Stability and Growth Pact context are taken on the basis of the first estimates available shortly after the end of each year. The paper shows that there are very significant differences in reliability among Member States and indicates the margins of uncertainty in relation to the most recent years' data. It also compares the reliability of deficit and debt figures; checks that the shift from ESA79 to ESA95 did not generally harm the reliability of data and suggests that the size of deficits may have an impact on the way statistical offices revise data.

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File URL: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/publication770_en.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission in its series European Economy - Economic Papers with number 273.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0273

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Keywords: reliability; quality of statistics; Stability and Growth Pact; government deficit; Gordo Mora; Nogueira Martins;

References

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  1. Marco Buti & Jo�o Nogueira Martins & Alessandro Turrini, 2007. "From Deficits to Debt and Back: Political Incentives under Numerical Fiscal Rules," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 115-152, March.
  2. Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco & Stefania Zotteri, 2006. "EMU fiscal indicators: a misleading compass?," Empirica, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 63-87, June.
  3. Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco & Stefania Zotteri, 2007. "The Reliability of EMU FIscal Indicators: Risks and Safeguards," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 633, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Aruoba, Boragan, 2005. "Data Revisions Are Not Well-Behaved," CEPR Discussion Papers 5271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pedregal, Diego J. & Pérez, Javier J., 2008. "Should quarterly government finance statistics be used for fiscal surveillane in Europe?," Working Paper Series 0937, European Central Bank.
  2. Leal, Teresa & Pérez, Javier J. & Tujula, Mika & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2007. "Fiscal forecasting: lessons from the literature and challenges," Working Paper Series 0843, European Central Bank.
  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. Pina, Álvaro M. & Venes, Nuno M., 2011. "The political economy of EDP fiscal forecasts: An empirical assessment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 534-546, September.
  5. Onorante, Luca & Pedregal, Diego J. & Pérez, Javier J. & Signorini, Sara, 2008. "The usefulness of infra-annual government cash budgetary data for fiscal forecasting in the euro area," Working Paper Series 0901, European Central Bank.
  6. Cimadomo, Jacopo, 2011. "Real-time data and fiscal policy analysis: a survey of the literature," Working Paper Series 1408, European Central Bank.
  7. Gabriel Quiros & Julia Catz & Wim Haine & Nuno Silva, 2010. "Statistical revision - a European perspective," IFC Bulletins chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), The IFC's contribution to the 57th ISI Session, Durban, August 2009, volume 33, pages 219-226 Bank for International Settlements.
  8. Carlos Fonseca Marinheiro, 2010. "Fiscal sustainability and the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts: do supranational forecasts rather than government forecasts make a difference?," GEMF Working Papers 2010-07, GEMF - Faculdade de Economia, Universidade de Coimbra.

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