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Fiscal delegation in a monetary union with decentralized public spending

  • Henrique S. Basso


    (Banco de España)

  • James Costain


    (Banco de España)

This paper studies the effects of delegating control of sovereign debt issuance to an independent authority in a monetary union where public spending decisions are decentralized. The model assumes that no policy makers are capable of commitment to a rule. However, consistent with Rogoff (1985) and with the recent history of central banking, it assumes that an institution may be designed to have a strong preference for achieving some clear, simple, quantitative policy goal. Following Beetsma and Bovenberg (1999), we show that in a monetary union where a single central bank interacts with many member governments, debt is excessive relative to a social planner’s solution. We extend their analysis by considering the establishment of an independent fiscal authority (IFA) mandated to maintain long-run budget balance. We show that delegating sovereign debt issuance to an IFA in each member state shifts down the time path of debt, because this eliminates aspects of deficit bias inherent in democratic politics. Delegating to a single IFA at the union level lowers debt further, because common pool problems across regions’ deficit choices are internalized. The establishment of a federal government with fiscal powers over the whole monetary union would be less likely to avoid excessive deficits, because only the second mechanism mentioned above would apply. Moreover, the effective level of public services would be lower, if centralized spending decisions are less informationally efficient

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Paper provided by Banco de Espa�a in its series Banco de Espa�a Working Papers with number 1311.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bde:wpaper:1311
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  1. Marco Battaglini, 2011. "The Political Economy of Public Debt," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 161-189, 09.
  2. Costain, James & de Blas, Beatriz, 2012. "The role of fiscal delegation in a monetary union: a survey of the political economy issues," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2012/11, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  3. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2001. "Closing Small Open Economy Models," Departmental Working Papers 200115, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  4. Rudiger Dornbusch, 1997. "Brazil's Incomplete Stabilization and Reform," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 367-404.
  5. Pedro Gomes, 2011. "Fiscal policy and the labour market: the effects of public sector employment and wages," European Economy - Economic Papers 439, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  6. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  7. Adam, Klaus & Billi, Roberto M., 2006. "Monetary conservatism and fiscal policy," Working Paper Series 0663, European Central Bank.
  8. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  9. Schoenmaker, Dirk & Gros, Daniel, 2012. "A European Deposit Insurance and Resolution Fund," CEPS Papers 6918, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  10. Barry Eichengreen & Charles Wyplosz, 1998. "The Stability Pact: more than a minor nuisance?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 65-113, 04.
  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. Paul De Grauwe, 2012. "The Governance of a Fragile Eurozone," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 45(3), pages 255-268, 09.
  13. C.A. Sims, 1999. "The Precarious Fiscal Foundations of EMU," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 34, Netherlands Central Bank.
  14. Xavier Debrun & David Hauner & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2009. "Independent Fiscal Agencies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 44-81, 02.
  15. Leeper, Eric M., 1991. "Equilibria under 'active' and 'passive' monetary and fiscal policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 129-147, February.
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