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The gains from early intervention in Europe: Fiscal surveillance and fiscal planning using cash data

  • Andrew Hughes Hallett

    (George Mason University and University of St Andrews)

  • Moritz Kuhn

    (University of Bonn)

  • Thomas Warmedinger

    (European Central Bank)

The use of real-time cash data allows us to make accurate intra-annual forecasts of an economy’s fiscal position, and to issue early warning signals for the need to correct fiscal imbalances. This paper shows how those signals can be used to design the necessary fiscal corrections, and discusses the gains that can be achieved from such interventions. Examples from Germany and Italy show that large corrections are often necessary early on to make adjustments later on acceptable and to keep debt ratios from escalating. There is a credibility issue here; we find the difference between front-loaded and back-loaded adjustment schemes is likely to be vital for the time consistency of fiscal policymaking. We also show that, without early interventions, the later deficit reductions typically double in size – meaning governments become subject to the excessive deficit procedure and significant improve-ment tests more often. Thus the budget savings from early intervention and the use of cash data are significant; in our examples they are similar in size to the operating budget of the department of housing and urban development in Germany. Similar results apply in other Eurozone countries.

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Article provided by Europa Grande in its journal European Journal of Government and Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 44-65

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Handle: RePEc:egr:ejge00:v:1:i:1:p:44-65
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  1. Eric M. Leeper, 2009. "Anchoring Fiscal Expectations," Caepr Working Papers 2009-015, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  2. 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.
  3. Perez, Javier J., 2007. "Leading indicators for euro area government deficits," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 259-275.
  4. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 2008. "When Can Central Banks Anchor Expectations? Policy communication and controllability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Coordination without Explicit Cooperation: Monetary-Fiscal Interactions in an Era of Demographic Change," European Economy - Economic Papers 305, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  6. Giuliodori, Massimo & Beetsma, Roel, 2008. "On the relationship between fiscal plans in the European Union: An empirical analysis based on real-time data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 221-242, June.
  7. Richard Morris & Hedwig Ongena & Ludger Schuknecht, 2006. "The reform and implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact," Occasional Paper Series 47, European Central Bank.
  8. Hughes Hallett, Andrew, 2005. "In Praise of Fiscal Restraint and Debt Rules. What the Euro Zone Might Do Now," CEPR Discussion Papers 5043, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Debt targets and fiscal sustainability in an era of monetary independence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 165-187, July.
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