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Fiscal Consolidation Across Government Levels - Part 1. How Much, What Policies?

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  • Hansjörg Blöchliger

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of fiscal consolidation efforts at the central and sub-central government level, both during the current and past consolidation episodes. After experiencing a deficit and debt hike during the crisis, sub-central debt is mostly stabilising. So far, sub-central consolidation has been mainly achieved through spending cuts, while overall revenues remained largely stable. Sub-central tax revenues rose a bit, but intergovernmental transfers went down slightly. Sub-central governments in a few countries need to consolidate further, if they want to reach debt levels of 2007 or 2011 by the year 2026, as shown by fiscal gap calculations. During past consolidation episodes, sub-central consolidation increased the probability of debt stabilisation at the general government level. Reductions in intergovernmental grants improved the success rate. Central and sub-central deficits tended to move in parallel, although some subcentral governments experienced a “second trough” three or four years after consolidation had started. The paper suggests a number of instruments that could help sub-central governments consolidate their budgets, and argues in favour of amendments to sub-central fiscal rules. Assainissement budgétaire aux différents niveaux d'administration - Partie 1. Quelles politiques pour quel degré d'assainissement ? Le présent rapport offre une vue d’ensemble des efforts d’assainissement budgétaire déployés par les administrations centrales et infranationales, aussi bien dans le cadre de l’actuelle phase d’assainissement qu’au cours des phases antérieures. Après une augmentation de leur déficit et de leur dette pendant la crise, les administrations infranationales voient leur dette se stabiliser d’une manière générale. À ce jour, elles sont essentiellement parvenues à assainir leurs finances en réduisant les dépenses, tandis que les recettes globales sont restées stables dans une large mesure. Si les recettes fiscales des administrations infranationales ont progressé de façon modérée, les transferts interadministrations ont enregistré une légère baisse. Dans quelques pays, les administrations infranationales doivent assainir davantage leurs finances si elles veulent atteindre les niveaux d’endettement de 2007 ou 2011 d’ici 2026, comme le montrent les chiffres de l’écart sur l’ajustement budgétaire. Les précédentes phases d’assainissement des finances publiques au niveau infranational ont accru la probabilité de stabilisation de la dette au niveau de l’État. Les réductions des dons interadministrations se sont traduites par une amélioration du taux de réussite. Les déficits publics aux niveaux central et infranational ont généralement évolué en parallèle, bien que certaines administrations infranationales aient enregistré une « rechute » trois à quatre ans après le début de la phase d’assainissement. Un certain nombre d’instruments susceptibles d’aider les administrations infranationales à assainir leurs finances sont proposés dans le rapport, où il est également préconisé d’apporter des modifications à leurs règles budgétaires.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 1070.

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Date of creation: 28 Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1070-en

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Keywords: sub-national fiscal policy; fiscal federalism; fiscal consolidation at sub-national level; sub-national debt; fédéralisme budgétaire; politique budgétaire au niveau infranational; assainissement des finances publiques au niveau infranational; dette des administrations infranationales;

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  1. Foremny, Dirk & von Hagen, Jürgen, 2012. "Fiscal Federalism in Times of Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Marika Cabral & Caroline Hoxby, 2012. "The Hated Property Tax: Salience, Tax Rates, and Tax Revolts," NBER Working Papers 18514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Balázs Égert, 2012. "Public debt, economic growth and nonlinear effects: Myth or reality?," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-44, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  4. James R. Hines & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "The Flypaper Effect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 217-226, Fall.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew C. Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-140, Harvard Business School.
  6. Hansjörg Blöchliger & Oliver Petzold, 2009. "Taxes or Grants: What Revenue Source for Sub-Central Governments?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 706, OECD Publishing.
  7. Åsa Johansson & Chistopher Heady & Jens Arnold & Bert Brys & Laura Vartia, 2008. "Taxation and Economic Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 620, OECD Publishing.
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