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Institutions for Fiscal Stability

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  • Barry Eichengreen

Abstract

This paper reviews the controversy over Europe's Stability and Growth Pact and offers a proposal for its reform. It argues that Europe would be best served by focusing on the fundamental causes of unsustainable debts — public enterprises that are too big to fail, unfunded public pension schemes that are too big to ignore, inefficient and costly labor market and social welfare problems, and budget making institutions that create common pool and free-rider problems — rather than on arbitrary numerical indicators like whether the budget deficit is above or below 3 percent of GDP. It proposes defining an index of institutional reform with, say, a point each for reform of budget making arrangements, reform of public pension schemes, and reform of labor markets and unemployment insurance. Countries receiving three points would be exempt from the Pact's numerical guidelines, since there is no reason to think that they will be prone to chronic deficits. The others, whose weak institutions render them susceptible to chronic deficits, would in contrast still be subject to its warnings, sanctions and fines.(JEL E0, F4)

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen, 2004. "Institutions for Fiscal Stability," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:50:y:2004:i:1:p:1-25.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/50.1.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wren-Lewis, Simon, 2000. "The Limits to Discretionary Fiscal Stabilization Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 92-105, Winter.
    2. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1998. "The Stability Pact: more than a minor nuisance?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 65-113, April.
    3. Beetsma, Roel M. W. J. & Lans Bovenberg, A., 1998. "Monetary union without fiscal coordination may discipline policymakers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 239-258, August.
    4. Buiter, Willem H. & Grafe, Clemens, 2002. "Patching up the Pact: some Suggestions for Enhancing Fiscal Sustainability and Macroeconomic Stability in an Enlarged European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 3496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Buti, Marco & Eijffinger, Sylvester C.W. & Franco, Daniele, 2003. "Revisiting the stability and growth pact: grand design or internal adjustment?," Seminarios y Conferencias 6567, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    6. Marco BUTI & Daniele FRANCO & Hedwig ONGENA, 1997. "Budgeetary Policies during Recessions : Retrospective Application of the Stability and Growth Pact” to the Post-War Period," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1997041, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    7. Coricelli, Fabrizio & Ercolani, Valerio, 2002. "Cyclical and Structural Deficits on the Road to Accession: Fiscal Rules for an Enlarged European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 3672, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
    9. Gleich, Holger, 2003. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Central and Eastern European countries," Working Paper Series 215, European Central Bank.
    10. von Hagen, Jürgen, 1998. "Budgeting institutions for aggregate fiscal discipline," ZEI Working Papers B 01-1998, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    11. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Jürgen Von Hagen, 1999. "Reforming Budgetary Institutions in Latin America: The Case for a National Fiscal Council," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 415-442, October.
    12. Uhlig, H.F.H.V.S., 2002. "One Money, But Many Fiscal Policies in Europe : What are the Consequences?," Discussion Paper 2002-32, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    13. Dixit, Avinash & Lambertini, Luisa, 2003. "Symbiosis of monetary and fiscal policies in a monetary union," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 235-247, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eichengreen, Barry, 2005. "Europe, the euro and the ECB: Monetary success, fiscal failure," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 427-439, June.
    2. Philipp Paulus, 2004. "The fiscal stability impact of monetary unions - looking beneath the Stability Pact debate," Otto-Wolff-Institut Discussion Paper Series 05/2004, Otto-Wolff-Institut für Wirtschaftsordnung, Köln, Deutschland.
    3. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & Xavier Debrun, 2005. "Implementing the Stability and Growth Pact; Enforcement and Procedural Flexibility," IMF Working Papers 05/59, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Jonas Fischer & Lars Jonung & Martin Larch, 2007. "101 Proposals to reform the Stability and Growth Pact. Why so many? A Survey," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 267, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. repec:bas:econth:y:2012:i:5:p:3-29 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Caio K. Koch-Weser & Dietmar Hornung & Horst Tomann, 2004. "Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 57(18), pages 03-10, September.
    7. Barry Eichengreen, 2010. "How Asia Can Benefit from the European Experience," Chapters,in: Asian Regionalism in the World Economy, chapter 11 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Campoy Juan Cristóbal & Negrete Juan C., 2010. "Structural Reforms and Budget Deficits in a Monetary Union: A Strategic Approach," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-31, July.
    9. Beetsma, Roel M.W.J. & Debrun, Xavier, 2007. "The new stability and growth pact: A first assessment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 453-477, February.
    10. Barry Eichengreen, 2010. "The Breakup of the Euro Area," NBER Chapters,in: Europe and the Euro, pages 11-51 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lindbeck, Assar & Niepelt, Dirk, 2004. "Improving the SGP: Taxes and Delegation Rather than Fines," Seminar Papers 733, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    12. repec:bas:econth:y:2012:i:5:p:30-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Mintz, Jack M. & Smart, Michael, 2006. "Incentives for public investment under fiscal rules," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3860, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E0 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

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