Fiscal restraint and the political economy of EMU
While the principle of delegation has become well established on the national level for monetary policy, fiscal policies remain in the hands of policy makers depending on rent-seeking interest groups. We argue that the Maastricht Treaty provides a unique international commitment that enables governments to follow restrictive fiscal policies by attributing their negative side-effects to Europe, and to implement austerity measures despite rising unemployment or a decline in growth. Hence, the popularity of the European idea is instrumented to enforce fiscal discipline. The paper outlines the political economy framework and presents new econometric evidence. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998
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