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Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005

  • Zsolt Darvas
  • Andrew K. Rose
  • Gyorgy Szapary

Using a panel of 21 OECD countries and 40 years of annual data, we find that countries with similar government budget positions tend to have business cycles that fluctuate more closely. That is, fiscal convergence (in the form of persistently similar ratios of government surplus/deficit to GDP) is systematically associated with more synchronized business cycles. We also find evidence that reduced fiscal deficits increase business cycle synchronization. The Maastricht “convergence criteria,” used to determine eligibility for EMU, encouraged fiscal convergence and deficit reduction. They may thus have indirectly moved Europe closer to an optimum currency area, by reducing countries’ abilities to create idiosyncratic fiscal shocks. Our empirical results are economically and statistically significant, and robust.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Jeffrey A. Frankel & Christopher Pissarides, 2007. "NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fran07-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 0358.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:0358
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela & Vegh, Carlos, 2004. "When it rains, it pours: Procyclical capital flows and macroeconomic policies," MPRA Paper 13883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Brender, Adi & Drazen, Allan, 2005. "Political budget cycles in new versus established democracies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1271-1295, October.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," NBER Working Papers 5730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kose, M. Ayhan & Prasad, Eswar & Terrones, Marco E., 2003. "How Does Globalization Affect the Synchronization of Business Cycles?," IZA Discussion Papers 702, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Zsolt Darvas & György Szapáry, 2008. "Business Cycle Synchronization in the Enlarged EU," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-19, February.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1997. "Fiscal Adjustments in OECD Countries: Composition and Macroeconomic Effects," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 210-248, June.
    9. Todd E. Clark & Eric van Wincoop, 1999. "Borders and business cycles," Staff Reports 91, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    10. Canova, Fabio & Ciccarelli, Matteo & Ortega, Eva, 2007. "Similarities and convergence in G-7 cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 850-878, April.
    11. Robin L. Lumsdaine & Eswar S. Prasad, 1997. "Identifying the Common Component in International Economic Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 5984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Darvas, Zsolt & Rose, Andrew K & Szapáry, György, 2005. "Fiscal Divergence and Business Cycle Synchronization: Irresponsibility is Idiosyncratic," CEPR Discussion Papers 5188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2004. "The Modern History of Exchange Rate Arrangements: A Reinterpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 1-48, February.
    14. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Mark Aguiar & Manuel Amador & Gita Gopinath, 2005. "Efficient Fiscal Policy and Amplification," NBER Working Papers 11490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Marianne Baxter & Michael A. Kouparitsas, 2004. "Determinants of Business Cycle Comovement: A Robust Analysis," NBER Working Papers 10725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
    18. repec:rus:hseeco:123092 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Barro, Robert & Alesina, Alberto, 2002. "Currency Unions," Scholarly Articles 4551795, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    21. Gerlach, H M Stefan, 1988. "World Business Cycles under Fixed and Flexible Exchange Rates," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(4), pages 621-32, November.
    22. Lane, Philip R., 2003. "The cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy: evidence from the OECD," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2661-2675, December.
    23. Fatas, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2006. "The macroeconomic effects of fiscal rules in the US states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 101-117, January.
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