The Reliability of EMU FIscal Indicators: Risks and Safeguards
The reliability of EMUï¿½s fiscal indicators has been questioned by recent episodes of large upward deficit revisions. This paper discusses the causes of such revisions in order to identify ways to improve monitoring. The computation of EMUï¿½s deficit indicator involves the assessment of accrued revenue and expenditure and the identification of transactions in financial assets. Both can open margins for opportunistic accounting. However, crosschecks between deficit and changes in gross nominal debt (the other fiscal indicator used in EMU) can reduce the scope for window dressing. Simple comparison of deficit and changes in debt can readily spotlight large inconsistencies in fiscal data. Nevertheless, consistency checks must go deeper than simple comparison, since different items in the reconciliation account between deficit and change in debt can offset each other. Econometric evidence suggests that such offset may indeed have been used to reduce the visibility of deficit-specific window dressing. Attention to the quality of statistics has increased in recent years, also in the context of the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact. In this context, the paper argues that detailed analysis of the reconciliation account between deficit and change in debt is crucial to the effectiveness of monitoring.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Via Nazionale, 91 - 00184 Roma|
Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marco Buti & João Nogueira Martins & Alessandro Turrini, 2007.
"From Deficits to Debt and Back: Political Incentives under Numerical Fiscal Rules,"
CESifo Economic Studies,
CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 115-152, March.
- Buti, Marco & Martins, Joao Nogueira & Turrini, Alessandro Antonio, 2006. "From Deficits to Debt and Back: Political Incentives under Numerical Fiscal Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 5809, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Roberto Golinelli & Sandro Momigliano, 2006. "Real-time determinants of fiscal policies in the euro area: Fiscal rules, cyclical conditions and elections," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 609, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
- von Hagen, Jurgen & Harden, Ian J., 1995. "Budget processes and commitment to fiscal discipline," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 771-779, April.
- International Monetary Fund, 1996. "Budget Processes and Commitment to Fiscal Discipline," IMF Working Papers 96/78, International Monetary Fund.
- Fabrizio Balassone & Daniele Franco & Stefania Zotteri, 2006. "EMU fiscal indicators: a misleading compass?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 63-87, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)