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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.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/eco_studies-2012-5k8zs3twgmjc
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Article provided by OECD Publishing in its journal OECD Journal: Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 2012 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 123-149

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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecokac:5k8zs3twgmjc
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  1. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2001. "Good, Bad or Ugly? On the Effects of Fiscal Rules with Creative Accounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 2663, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Balázs Égert, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Reaction to the Cycle in the OECD: Pro- or Counter-cyclical?," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-12, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
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  4. Mark A. Horton & George C. Tsibouris & Wojciech Maliszewski & Mark J Flanagan, 2006. "Experience with Large Fiscal Adjustments," IMF Occasional Papers 246, International Monetary Fund.
  5. repec:fth:geneec:99.05 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Alberto F. Alesina & Silvia Ardagna, 2009. "Large Changes in Fiscal Policy: Taxes Versus Spending," NBER Working Papers 15438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Signe Krogstrup & Sébastien Wälti, 2007. "Do fiscal rules cause budgetary outcomes?," Trinity Economics Papers tep0607, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Fabian Valencia & Luc Laeven, 2008. "Systemic Banking Crises; A New Database," IMF Working Papers 08/224, International Monetary Fund.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Salvador Barrios & Sven Langedijk & Lucio Pench, 2010. "EU fiscal consolidation after the financial crisis. Lessons from past experiences," European Economy - Economic Papers 418, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  15. 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.
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