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Public Accounting Fudges towards EMU: A First Empirical Survey and Some Public Choice Considerations


  • Dafflon, Bernard
  • Rossi, Sergio


This paper analyses some one-off measures and other accounting tricks that EU member States have been using to qualify for EMU membership. Moving from empirical evidence to strategic goals, this investigation brings to the fore three crucial issues: the weakness of the methodological rules of the European system of accounts used to assess budgetary convergence in line with the Maastricht Treaty; the open-ended definition of the required budgetary discipline; the shortcomings of the excessive deficit procedure enforced through the Stability Pact. The conclusion urges a return to a strict annual balance requirement for governments' current accounts, to impede strategic adjustments of budgetary positions that are in fact creative accounting operations. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Dafflon, Bernard & Rossi, Sergio, 1999. "Public Accounting Fudges towards EMU: A First Empirical Survey and Some Public Choice Considerations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(1-2), pages 59-84, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:101:y:1999:i:1-2:p:59-84

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fermín Cabasés & Pedro Pascual & Jaime Vallés, 2007. "The effectiveness of institutional borrowing restrictions: Empirical evidence from Spanish municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 293-313, June.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "Should National Happiness be Maximized?," Chapters,in: Happiness, Economics and Politics, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Moriyama, Kenji, 2006. "Fiscal adjustment in EU countries: A balance sheet approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3281-3298, December.
    4. Sergio Rossi, 2004. "Monetary integration strategies and perspectives of new EU countries," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 443-469.
    5. Benno Torgler & Bruno Frey, 2013. "Politicians: be killed or survive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 357-386, July.
    6. Reischmann, Markus, 2016. "Creative accounting and electoral motives: Evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 243-257.
    7. Kerstin Bernoth & Guntram B. Wolff, 2008. "Fool The Markets? Creative Accounting, Fiscal Transparency And Sovereign Risk Premia," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(4), pages 465-487, September.
    8. Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Subjective Well-Being, Politics and Political Economy," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(IV), pages 397-415, December.
    9. Timothy C. Irwin, 2015. "Defining The Government'S Debt And Deficit," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 711-732, September.
    10. von Hagen, Jurgen & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "What do deficits tell us about debt? Empirical evidence on creative accounting with fiscal rules in the EU," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 3259-3279, December.
    11. Arghyrou, Michael G. & Luintel, Kul B., 2007. "Government solvency: Revisiting some EMU countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 387-410, June.
    12. Roel M.W.J. Beetsma & Frederick van der Ploeg, 2007. "Partisan Public Investment and Debt: The Case for Fiscal Restrictions," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/37, European University Institute.
    13. Bruno S. Frey, 2007. "Why Kill Politicians? A Rational Choice Analysis of Political Assassinations," CREMA Working Paper Series 2007-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    14. Bruno Frey, 2011. "Tullock challenges: happiness, revolutions, and democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 269-281, September.
    15. Marco Buti & João Nogueira Martins & Alessandro Turrini, 2007. "From Deficits to Debt and Back: Political Incentives under Numerical Fiscal Rules," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 115-152, March.
    16. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2006. "Should We Maximize National Happiness?," IEW - Working Papers 306, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    17. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
    18. Mark Hallerberg & Guntram Wolff, 2008. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia in EMU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 379-396, September.
    19. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 1999. "The Economic and Monetary Union: Current and Future Prospects," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_282, Levy Economics Institute.
    20. Beetsma, Roel & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2007. "The Political Economy of Public Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6090, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. Gábor P. Kiss, 2007. "One-off and off-budget items: An alternative approach," MNB Conference Volume, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary), vol. 1(1), pages 18-27, December.
    22. Rossi, Sergio, 2004. "The enlargement of the euro area: what lessons can be learned from EMU?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 947-970, January.
    23. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "The use of happiness research for public policy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 38(4), pages 659-674, April.
    24. Bruno S. Frey, 2012. "Happiness and Public Policies: Fundamental Issues," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-16, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    25. Hallerberg, Mark & Wolff, Guntram B., 2006. "Fiscal institutions, fiscal policy and sovereign risk premia," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2006,35, Deutsche Bundesbank.

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