Le Pacte de stabilité et les politiques budgétaires dans l'Union européenne
The Stability Pact imposes a 3%-of-GDP ceiling on national budget deficits. However, the yearly national stability programs describing medium-term public finance strategies, based on growth forecasts, have never been implemented in full and have had to be revised every year. In 2001, the economic slowdown has made the gap between commitments and achievements even wider. After presenting national stability programs, we offer an econometric evaluation of national fiscal policy rules in Europe and the US. This estimation also reveals the cyclical component in deficits. We then discuss ways of evaluating deficits to substitute for the current rule while maintaining reasonable discipline and credibility. We conclude that the British « golden rule », but based on the structural budget deficit excluding public investment, would dominate, avoiding pro-cyclical policies and leaving governments sufficient leeway for growth-friendly policies. JEL code : E6.
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