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Rainy day funds: can they make a difference in Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Fabrizio Balassone

    () (Banca d'Italia)

  • Daniele Franco

    () (Banca d'Italia)

  • Stefania Zotteri

    () (Banca d'Italia)

Abstract

Rainy Day Funds (RDFs) have an important role in the USA. They allow States � which usually have rules requiring a balanced budget for current revenue and spending � to limit procyclical fiscal policies. This paper examines the possible role of RDFs in the European fiscal framework. The analysis suggests that RDFs would not fundamentally alter the incentive problems at the root of the difficulties in the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact. Moreover, RDFs are not an option for countries with high deficits. However, for low-deficit countries, RDFs can lessen the rigidity of the 3 per cent threshold in bad times. RDFs could be introduced on a voluntary basis at the national level and could contribute to make the rules more country-specific. The introduction of RDFs would require a change in the definition of the �Maastricht deficit�: deposits and withdrawals should be considered respectively as budget expense and revenue. In this way, the balances held in RDFs could be spent in bad times without an increase in the deficit. To ensure that RDFs are not used opportunistically, deposits should only be made out of budget surpluses and circumstances allowing withdrawals should be specified ex ante.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco & Stefania Zotteri, 2007. "Rainy day funds: can they make a difference in Europe," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 11, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_11_07
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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2007-0011/qef_11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary Wagner & Russell Sobel, 2006. "State budget stabilization fund adoption: Preparing for the next recession or circumventing fiscal constraints?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 126(1), pages 177-199, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese & Stefania Zotteri, 2008. "Cyclical asymmetry in fiscal variables," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 671, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese & Stefania Zotteri, 2010. "Cyclical asymmetry in fiscal variables in the EU," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 381-402, November.
    3. European Commission, 2010. "Tax Policy after the Crisis: Monitoring Tax Revenues and Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2010 Report," Taxation Papers 24, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    4. Alessandro Turrini, 2008. "Fiscal policy and the cycle in the Euro Area: The role of government revenue and expenditure," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 323, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    rainy day funds; fiscal rules; EMU;

    JEL classification:

    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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