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The Euro and Fiscal Policy

In: Europe and the Euro

  • Antonio Fatás
  • Ilian Mihov

The paper provides and empirical characterization of fiscal policy in the euro area and in a group of twenty-two OECD economies over the period from 1970 until 2007. Using the cyclically-adjusted fiscal balance we document that policy in the euro area has been mildly pro-cyclical. The adoption of the common currency and the constraints imposed by the Stability and Growth Pact have not had a large impact on the cyclical behavior of the structural balance. In contrast, over the past ten years US fiscal policy has become highly countercyclical, which was due predominantly to discretionary changes in tax policies. However, the component of the budget due to automatic stabilizers reacts stronger in the euro-area countries than in the US. We also document the primary balance in the OECD economies is more sensitive to output growth rather than to the output gap, which calls into question the common practice of adjusting structural balances by using elasticities with respect to the output gap.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Alberto Alesina & Francesco Giavazzi, 2010. "Europe and the Euro," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ales08-1.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11656.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11656
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Mankiw, N, 1999. "Government Debt," Scholarly Articles 2643866, Harvard University Department of Economics.
      • Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Gregory Mankiw, N., 1999. "Government debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1615-1669 Elsevier.
    2. Olivier Blanchard & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "An Empirical Characterization of the Dynamic Effects of Changes in Government Spending and Taxes on Output," NBER Working Papers 7269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    4. Barro, Robert J., 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Scholarly Articles 3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    8. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," NBER Working Papers 7662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in a Business Cycle Model," NBER Working Papers 4490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 2002. "The Case for Restricting Fiscal Policy Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 3277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Phillip Arestis & Michelle Baddeley & John S.L. McCombie (ed.), 2007. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3958, March.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Alberto Alesina & Tamim Bayoumi, 1996. "The Costs and Benefits of Fiscal Rules: Evidence from U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 5614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Nathalie Girouard & Christophe André, 2005. "Measuring Cyclically-adjusted Budget Balances for OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 434, OECD Publishing.
    17. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Jordi GalÌ & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal policy and monetary integration in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 533-572, October.
    19. André Sapir & Marco Buti, 1998. "Economic policy in EMU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8078, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    20. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1.
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