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Fiscal Policy and Macroeconomic Performance in the Euro area - Lessons for the Future

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Author Info

  • Eckhard Hein

    ()
    (IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation)

  • Achim Truger

    ()
    (IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation)

Abstract

Since the start of the European Monetary Union fiscal policy in the Euro area has been dominated by the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). Quite obviously the SGP has been unsuccessful in fulfilling its goals, fiscal sustainability and supporting economic growth. More and more countries have exceeded the 3 percent of GDP limit for the budget deficit, while at the same time macroeconomic performance has been unsatisfactory. We analyse fiscal policy and its macroeconomic impact for the Euro area as a whole and for selected countries and compare it with US fiscal policy, with a special emphasis on the period 2001-2005. Whereas US fiscal policy has been strongly counter-cyclical, thus stabilising the economy, in the Euro area fiscal policy has been much more restrictive and has had pro-cyclical and therefore destabilising effects for many countries. However, one cannot put all the blame on fiscal policy. The ECB's restrictive monetary policy and divergent and destabilising wage developments across the Euro area are at least as important as fiscal policy in the explanation of the Euro area's weak economic performance. As a possible solution for the future, we suggest to replace the SGP by expenditure paths as coordination tool, and we discuss an important modification of the concept. Such expenditure paths could co-ordinate fiscal policies across the Euro area in a counter-cyclical way and at the same time ensure fiscal sustainability. Unfortunately, as long as monetary and wage policies remain un-coordinated and destabilising, any improvements in fiscal policy will not be very effective in enhancing economic performance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute in its series IMK Working Paper with number 07-2006.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imk:wpaper:07-2006

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Keywords: Fiscal policy; consolidation strategies; macroeconomic policy mix; euro area;

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References

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," NBER Working Papers 5730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Robert Solow, 2000. "Unemployment in the United States and in Europe - A Contrast and the Reasons," CESifo Working Paper Series 231, CESifo Group Munich.
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  5. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," NBER Working Papers 5146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Buti, M. & Eijffinger, S.C.W. & Franco, D., 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: Grand design or internal adjustment?," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152958, Tilburg University.
  8. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 2003. "Reinventing fiscal policy," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 26(1), pages 3-25, October.
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  11. 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.
  12. Eichengreen, Barry, 1998. "European Monetary Unification: A Tour d'Horizon," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 24-40, Autumn.
  13. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2005. "What ever happened to Germany? Is the decline of the former European key currency country caused by structural sclerosis or by macroeconomic mismanagement?," Macroeconomics 0501007, EconWPA.
  14. Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1995. "Distinguishing theories of the monetary transmission mechanism," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 83-97.
  15. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 96/70, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson & Deborah Roseveare & Paul van den Noord, 1995. "Estimating Potential Output, Output Gaps and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 152, OECD Publishing.
  17. Benoiˆt Coeure´ & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2005. "Fiscal Policy in Emu: Towards a Sustainability and Growth Pact?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 598-617, Winter.
  18. Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2005. "Fiscal policy in EMU: towards a sustainability and growth pact," Working Papers 52, Bruegel.
  19. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2005. "A Different View of Germany's Stagnation," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 48(6), pages 64-94, November.
  20. Allsopp, Christopher & Vines, David, 1998. "The Assessment: Macroeconomic Policy after EMU," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 1-23, Autumn.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Hein, Eckhard & Truger, Achim, 2010. "Finance-dominated capitalism in crisis – the case for a Global Keynesian New Deal," MPRA Paper 21175, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Hein, Eckhard, 2011. "Distribution, ‘Financialisation’ and the Financial and Economic Crisis – Implications for Post-crisis Economic Policies," MPRA Paper 31180, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2006. "Monetary policy, macroeconomic policy mix and economic performance in the Euro area," IMK Working Paper 06-2006, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  5. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger, 2014. "Fiscal Policy and Rebalancing in the Euro Area: A Critique of the German Debt Brake from a Post-Keynesian Perspective," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 61(1), pages 21-38, Februar.
  6. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger & Till van Treeck, 2011. "The European Financial and Economic Crisis: Alternative Solutions from a (Post-) Keynesian Perspective," IMK Working Paper 9-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  7. Jorg Bibow, 2013. "Lost at Sea: The Euro Needs a Euro Treasury," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_780, Levy Economics Institute.
  8. Jörg Bibow, 2013. "Lost at Sea: The Euro Needs a Euro Treasury," IMK Studies 35-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  9. Hein, Eckhard & Truger, Achim, 2013. "Future fiscal and debt policies: Germany in the Context of the European Monetary Union," IPE Working Papers 24/2013, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).

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