IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Promoting sustainable public finances in the European Union: The role of fiscal rules and government efficiency

Listed author(s):
  • Bergman, U. Michael
  • Hutchison, Michael M.
  • Jensen, Svend E. Hougaard
Registered author(s):

    New indices of fiscal rule strength are constructed and, using a dynamic panel econometric model for 27 EU countries over the period 1990–2012, we assess whether national fiscal rules alone help to promote sustainable public finances in the EU or whether they must be supported by good governance in order to be effective. We find that fiscal rules are effective in reducing structural primary deficits at all levels of government efficiency. However, the effect is smaller as government efficiency increases, indicating that fiscal rules and government efficiency are institutional substitutes in terms of promoting fiscal sustainability. We also find that balanced budget rules are the most effective form of fiscal rules. Multiple fiscal rules are found to enhance fiscal solvency. Other institutional features that enhance the effectiveness of fiscal rules are transparency of policies and commitment to implementation of fiscal programs. Supranational rules, however, do not affect the effectiveness of national fiscal rules in reducing the deficit bias. Our results are robust to alternative estimation methods and endogeneity assumptions.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0176268016300106
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 44 (2016)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 1-19

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:44:y:2016:i:c:p:1-19
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.04.005
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Vegh, Carlos A. & Vuletin, Guillermo, 2013. "On graduation from fiscal procyclicality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 32-47.
    2. Anna Samarina & Jakob De Haan, 2014. "Right On Target: Exploring The Factors Leading To Inflation Targeting Adoption," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 372-389, April.
    3. Persson, Mats & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1987. "Time Consistency of Fiscal and Monetary Policy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1419-1431, November.
    4. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
    5. Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 209-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:ces:ifodic:v:9:y:2011:i:3:p:16750160 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David Roodman, 2009. "How to do xtabond2: An introduction to difference and system GMM in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(1), pages 86-136, March.
    8. Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 1989. "Why a Stubborn Conservative would Run a Deficit: Policy with Time-Inconsistent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 325-345.
    9. Lavigne, Robert, 2011. "The political and institutional determinants of fiscal adjustment: Entering and exiting fiscal distress," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 17-35, March.
    10. Alt, James & Lassen, David Dreyer & Wehner, Joachim, 2014. "It Isn't Just about Greece: Domestic Politics, Transparency and Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(04), pages 707-716, October.
    11. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & Xavier Debrun, 2005. "Implementing the Stability and Growth Pact; Enforcement and Procedural Flexibility," IMF Working Papers 05/59, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & Xavier Debrun, 2004. "Reconciling Stability and Growth: Smart Pacts and Structural Reforms," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 431-456, November.
    13. Momi Dahan & Michel Strawczynski, 2010. "Fiscal Rules and Composition Bias in OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 3088, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
    15. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    16. Mats Persson & Torsten Persson & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2006. "Time Consistency of Fiscal and Monetary Policy: A Solution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 193-212, January.
    17. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Fiscal Deficits and Government Debt," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 403-414.
    18. Bruno Albuquerque, 2012. "Fiscal institutions and public spending volatility in Europe," Economic Bulletin and Financial Stability Report Articles, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    19. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & von Hagen, Jurgen, 2007. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 338-359, June.
    20. Muscatelli, Vito A. & Natale, Piergiovanna & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2012. "A simple and flexible alternative to Stability and Growth Pact deficit ceilings. Is it at hand?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 14-26.
    21. Ibrahim Elbadawi & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Raimundo Soto, 2015. "Why do Countries have Fiscal Rules?," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 18(3), pages 28-61, December.
    22. Jeroen Klomp & Jakob De Haan, 2013. "Do political budget cycles really exist?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 329-341, January.
    23. Maurice J.G. Bun & Sarafidis, V., 2013. "Dynamic Panel Data Models," UvA-Econometrics Working Papers 13-01, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Dept. of Econometrics.
    24. Iara, Anna & Wolff, Guntram B., 2014. "Rules and risk in the Euro area," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 222-236.
    25. David Roodman, 2009. "A Note on the Theme of Too Many Instruments," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(1), pages 135-158, February.
    26. Sacchi, Agnese & Salotti, Simone, 2015. "The impact of national fiscal rules on the stabilisation function of fiscal policy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-20.
    27. Ludger Schuknecht & Philippe Moutot & Philipp Rother & Jürgen Stark, 2011. "The Stability and Growth Pact: Crisis and Reform," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(3), pages 10-18, October.
    28. Beetsma, Roel & Uhlig, Harald, 1999. "An Analysis of the Stability and Growth Pact," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 546-571, October.
    29. M. E. Bontempi & I. Mammi, 2012. "A strategy to reduce the count of moment conditions in panel data GMM," Working Papers wp843, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    30. César Calderón & Roberto Duncan & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2016. "Do Good Institutions Promote Countercyclical Macroeconomic Policies?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(5), pages 650-670, October.
    31. Alastair R. Hall & Fernanda P. M. Peixe, 2003. "A Consistent Method for the Selection of Relevant Instruments," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 269-287, January.
    32. Brambor, Thomas & Clark, William Roberts & Golder, Matt, 2006. "Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(01), pages 63-82, December.
    33. Cândida Ferreira, 2009. "Fiscal Behaviour in the European Union: Rules, Fiscal Decentralization and Government Indebtedness," Working Papers Department of Economics 2009/23, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    34. Xavier Debrun & Laurent Moulin & Alessandro Turrini & Joaquim Ayuso-i-Casals & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2008. "Tied to the mast? National fiscal rules in the European Union," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 297-362, April.
    35. Nerlich, Carolin & Reuter, Wolf Heinrich, 2013. "The design of national fiscal frameworks and their budgetary impact," Working Paper Series 1588, European Central Bank.
    36. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
    37. Martin Gregor, 2004. "Governing Fiscal Commons in the Enlarged EU," Working Papers IES 56, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised 2004.
    38. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2010. "The worldwide governance indicators : methodology and analytical issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5430, The World Bank.
    39. Woo, Jaejoon, 2003. "Economic, political, and institutional determinants of public deficits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 387-426, March.
    40. F. Holm-Hadulla & S. Hauptmeier & P. Rother, 2012. "The impact of expenditure rules on budgetary discipline over the cycle," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(25), pages 3287-3296, September.
    41. César Calderón & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2008. "The Choice of Fiscal Regimes in the World," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 487, Central Bank of Chile.
    42. Alt, James & Lassen, David Dreyer & Wehner, Joachim, 2014. "It isn't just about Greece: domestic politics, transparency and fiscal gimmickry in Europe," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57639, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    43. David M. Primo, 2006. "Stop Us Before We Spend Again: Institutional Constraints On Government Spending," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 269-312, November.
    44. Jochen Mierau & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jakob de Haan, 2007. "Do political variables affect fiscal policy adjustment decisions? New empirical evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 297-319, December.
    45. Krogstrup, Signe & Wyplosz, Charles, 2010. "A common pool theory of supranational deficit ceilings," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 269-278, February.
    46. Nina T Budina & Andrea Schaechter & Anke Weber & Tidiane Kinda, 2012. "Fiscal Rules in Response to the Crisis; Toward the "Next-Generation" Rules: A New Dataset," IMF Working Papers 12/187, International Monetary Fund.
    47. Gilles Mourre & George-Marian Isbasoiu & Dario Paternoster & Matteo Salto, 2013. "The cyclically-adjusted budget balance used in the EU fiscal framework: an update," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 478, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    48. António Afonso & Ana Sofia Guimarães, 2014. "The relevance of fiscal rules for fiscal and yield developments," Working Papers Department of Economics 2014/05, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    49. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
    50. Jakob Haan & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jochen Mierau, 2013. "Do budgetary institutions mitigate the common pool problem? New empirical evidence for the EU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 423-441, September.
    51. Windmeijer, Frank, 2005. "A finite sample correction for the variance of linear efficient two-step GMM estimators," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 25-51, May.
    52. Bergman, U. Michael & Hutchison, Michael, 2015. "Economic stabilization in the post-crisis world: Are fiscal rules the answer?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 82-101.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:44:y:2016:i:c:p:1-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.