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Fiscal consolidation: What factors determine the success of consolidation efforts?


  • Margit Molnár


The global economic and financial crisis exacerbated the need for fiscal consolidation in many OECD countries. Drawing lessons from past episodes of fiscal consolidation, this study investigates the economic environments, political settings and policy measures conducive to fiscal consolidation and debt stabilisation using probit, duration, truncated regression and bivariate Heckman selection methods. The empirical analysis builds on the earlier literature and extends it to include new aspects that may be of importance for consolidating governments. The empirical analysis confirms previous findings that the presence of fiscal rules – expenditure or budget balance rules – is associated with a greater probability of stabilising debt. Crucial in determining the causal link behind the association, the results also reveal an independent role for such rules over and above the impact of preferences for fiscal prudence. Also, while the analysis confirms that spending-driven adjustments visà- vis revenue-driven ones are more likely to stabilise debt, it also reveals that large consolidations need multiple instruments for consolidation to succeed. Sub-national governments, in particular state-level governments can contribute to the success of central government consolidation, if they co-operate. To ensure that state-level governments do co-operate, having the right regulatory framework with the extension of fiscal rules to sub-central government levels is important.

Suggested Citation

  • Margit Molnár, 2012. "Fiscal consolidation: What factors determine the success of consolidation efforts?," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2012(1), pages 123-149.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecokac:5k8zs3twgmjc

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Boltho & Andrew Glyn, 2006. "Prudence or Profligacy: Deficits, Debt, and Fiscal Consolidation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 411-425, Autumn.
    2. Douglas Sutherland & Robert W. R. Price & Isabelle Joumard, 2005. "Fiscal Rules for Sub-central Governments: Design and Impact," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 465, OECD Publishing.
    3. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2004. "Good, bad or ugly? On the effects of fiscal rules with creative accounting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 377-394, January.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2010. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes versus Spending," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 35-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Carlos Mulas-Granados, 2005. "Fiscal Adjustments and the Short-Term Trade-Off between economic growth and equality," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 172(1), pages 61-92, June.
    6. Signe Krogstrup & Sébastien Wälti, 2008. "Do fiscal rules cause budgetary outcomes?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 123-138, July.
    7. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Mark A Horton & George C. Tsibouris & Wojciech Maliszewski & Mark J Flanagan, 2006. "Experience with Large Fiscal Adjustments," IMF Occasional Papers 246, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Balázs Égert, 2014. "Fiscal policy reaction to the cycle in the OECD: pro- or counter-cyclical?," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 35-52.
    10. Nathalie Girouard & Robert W. R. Price, 2004. "Asset Price Cycles, “One-Off” Factors and Structural Budget Balances," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 391, OECD Publishing.
    11. Salvador Barrios & Sven Langedijk & Lucio Pench, 2010. "EU fiscal consolidation after the financial crisis. Lessons from past experiences," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 418, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    12. Vincent Koen & Paul van den Noord, 2005. "Fiscal Gimmickry in Europe: One-Off Measures and Creative Accounting," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 417, OECD Publishing.
    13. 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.
    14. repec:fth:geneec:99.05 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Douglas Sutherland & Peter Hoeller & Rossana Merola, 2012. "Fiscal Consolidation: Part 1. How Much is Needed and How to Reduce Debt to a Prudent Level?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 932, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ludek Kouba & Michal Madr & Danuse Nerudova & Petr Rozmahel, 2016. "Policy Autonomy, Coordination or Harmonization in the Persistently Heterogeneous European Union?," DANUBE: Law and Economics Review, European Association Comenius - EACO, issue 1, pages 53-71, March.
    2. Jesús Ferreiro & Catalina Gálvez & Ana González, 2015. "Fiscal Policies in the European Union during the Crisis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 62(2), pages 131-155, June.
    3. repec:voj:journl:v:63:y:2016:i:2:p:211-230 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Perugini, Cristiano & Žarković Rakić, Jelena & Vladisavljević, Marko, 2016. "Austerity and gender wage inequality in EU countries," MPRA Paper 76306, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:171:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0441-0 is not listed on IDEAS

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