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Reconciling Stability and Growth: Smart Pacts and Structural Reforms

Author

Listed:
  • Roel M. W. J. Beetsma

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Xavier Debrun

    (International Monetary Fund)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the decision by a government facing electoral uncertainty to implement structural reforms in the presence of fiscal restraints similar to the Stability and Growth Pact. To the extent that the reform package entails budgetary costs, the model shows that a fiscal pact erodes incentives to carry out structural reforms, sacrificing future growth for present stability. Although the pact effectively addresses the deficit bias resulting from electoral uncertainty, the induced reduction in reforms implies ambiguous welfare effects. We conclude that a "smart" (i.e., welfare-improving) pact should take into account the budgetary effects of structural reforms. Our conclusions are consistent with the actual principles guiding the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Suggested Citation

  • Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & Xavier Debrun, 2004. "Reconciling Stability and Growth: Smart Pacts and Structural Reforms," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 51(3), pages 431-456, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v:51:y:2004:i:3:p:431-456
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2002. "The Political Economy of Employment Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 672-701, June.
    2. Sibert, Anne & Sutherland, Alan, 2000. "Monetary union and labor market reform," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 421-435, August.
    3. Gert Schnabel, 2002. "Output trends and Okun's law," BIS Working Papers 111, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2002. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Timing of Labor Market Reform," IDEI Working Papers 146, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    5. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    6. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2002. "Some Thoughts on Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Timing of Labor Market Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 611, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

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