IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bdi/wptemi/td_654_08.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The cyclical response of fiscal policies in the euro area. Why do results of empirical research differ so strongly?

Author

Listed:
  • Roberto Golinelli

    (University of Bologna, Department of Economics)

  • Sandro Momigliano

    (Bank of Italy, Department for Structural Economic Analysis)

Abstract

Whether discretionary fiscal policies in industrialized countries act counter- or pro-cyclically and whether their reaction is symmetric or asymmetric over the cycle are still largely unsettled questions. This uncertainty remains even when attention is restricted to euro-area countries, where these questions have important implications for the debate on European fiscal rules. We review the recent empirical literature to explain why the results of the various studies differ so greatly. We find that differences are driven partly by the choices made in modelling fiscal behaviour and in the related notions of fiscal policy cyclicality. Results are also affected by data source and vintage (ex post or real-time). The time period chosen is relatively less important. We conclude that the notion of pro-cyclical fiscal policies often upheld in the debate is not justified by the data. Ex post data suggest either a-cyclicality or weak counter-cyclicality. Real-time information gives clearer indications of counter-cyclical behaviour, especially when we progress from a very simple �core� model to a more complex one, including at least the impact of fiscal rules. As for symmetry or asymmetry, the answer varies with sources of data and time periods. With the more complex model the indications of asymmetric behaviour are more robust. Whenever asymmetry is present, it entails shifts in all the parameters of the fiscal rule and not necessarily in the output gap parameter.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Golinelli & Sandro Momigliano, 2008. "The cyclical response of fiscal policies in the euro area. Why do results of empirical research differ so strongly?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 654, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_654_08
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/temi-discussione/2008/2008-0654/en_tema_654.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Darrel Cohen & Glenn Follette, 2003. "Forecasting exogenous fiscal variables in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-59, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Mark Hallerberg & Rolf Strauch, 2002. "On the Cyclicality of Public Finances in Europe," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 183-207, September.
    3. Bun, Maurice J.G. & Kiviet, Jan F., 2006. "The effects of dynamic feedbacks on LS and MM estimator accuracy in panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 409-444, June.
    4. Henning Bohn, 1998. "The Behavior of U. S. Public Debt and Deficits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 949-963.
    5. Fabrizio Balassone & Maura Francese, 2004. "Cyclical asymmetry in fiscal policy, debt accumulation and the Treaty of Maastricht," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 531, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    8. Forni, Lorenzo & Momigliano, Sandro, 2004. "Cyclical sensitivity of fiscal policies based on real-time data," MPRA Paper 4315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Mr. Anthony M Annett, 2006. "Enforcement and the Stability and Growth Pact: How Fiscal Policy Did and Did Not Change Under Europe’s Fiscal Framework," IMF Working Papers 2006/116, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Orazio P. Attanasio & Lucio Picci & Antonello E. Scorcu, 2000. "Saving, Growth, and Investment: A Macroeconomic Analysis Using a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 182-211, May.
    11. Bouthevillain, Carine & Cour-Thimann, Philippine & van de Dool, Gerrit & Hernández de Cos, Pablo & Langenus, Geert & Mohr, Matthias & Momigliano, Sandro & Tujula, Mika, 2001. "Cyclically adjusted budget balances: an alternative approach," Working Paper Series 77, European Central Bank.
    12. Jordi Gali & Roberto Perotti, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," NBER Working Papers 9773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. John B. Taylor, 2000. "Reassessing Discretionary Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 21-36, Summer.
    14. Hayakawa, Kazuhiko, 2007. "Small sample bias properties of the system GMM estimator in dynamic panel data models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 32-38, April.
    15. Mark Mink & Jakob de Haan, 2006. "Are there Political Budget Cycles in the Euro Area?," European Union Politics, , vol. 7(2), pages 191-211, June.
    16. 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.
    17. Golinelli, Roberto & Momigliano, Sandro, 2006. "Real-time determinants of fiscal policies in the euro area," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 943-964, December.
    18. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    19. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
    20. Oya Celasun & Mr. Joong S Kang, 2006. "On the Properties of Various Estimators for Fiscal Reaction Functions," IMF Working Papers 2006/182, International Monetary Fund.
    21. Stephen Bond, 2002. "Dynamic panel data models: a guide to microdata methods and practice," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Roberto Golinelli & Sandro Momigliano, 2009. "The Cyclical Reaction of Fiscal Policies in the Euro Area: The Role of Modelling Choices and Data Vintages," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 39-72, March.
    2. Kerstin Bernoth & Andrew Hughes Hallet & John Lewis, 2008. "Did fiscal policy makers know what they were doing? Reassessing fiscal policy with real-time data," DNB Working Papers 169, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Golinelli, Roberto & Momigliano, Sandro, 2006. "Real-time determinants of fiscal policies in the euro area," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 943-964, December.
    4. 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.
    5. I. Mammi, 2015. "GMM estimation of fiscal rules: Monte Carlo experiments and empirical tests," Working Papers wp1028, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Oya Celasun & Xavier Debrun & Jonathan D. Ostry, 2006. "Primary Surplus Behavior and Risks to Fiscal Sustainability in Emerging Market Countries: A "Fan-Chart" Approach," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(3), pages 1-3.
    7. Larch, Martin & Orseau, Eloïse & van der Wielen, Wouter, 2021. "Do EU fiscal rules support or hinder counter-cyclical fiscal policy?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    8. Darby, Julia & Melitz, Jacques, 2011. "Joint estimates of automatic and discretionary fiscal policy for the OECD," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-43, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    9. Julia Darby & Jacques Melitz, 2011. "Joint Estimates of Automatic and Discretionary Fiscal Policy: the OECD 1981-2003," Working Papers 2011-14, CEPII research center.
    10. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2014. "The Determinants of the Volatility of Fiscal Policy Discretion," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 35, pages 91-115, March.
    11. R. Golinelli & I. Mammi & A. Musolesi, 2018. "Parameter heterogeneity, persistence and cross-sectional dependence: new insights on fiscal policy reaction functions for the Euro area," Working Papers wp1120, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    12. Oya Celasun & Mr. Joong S Kang, 2006. "On the Properties of Various Estimators for Fiscal Reaction Functions," IMF Working Papers 2006/182, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Luca Agnello & Jacopo Cimadomo, 2012. "Discretionary Fiscal Policies over the Cycle: New Evidence Based on the ESCB Disaggregated Approach," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 8(2), pages 43-85, June.
    14. Jacopo Cimadomo, 2007. "Fiscal Policy in Real Time," Working Papers 2007-10, CEPII research center.
    15. Badi H. Baltagi, 2021. "Dynamic Panel Data Models," Springer Texts in Business and Economics, in: Econometric Analysis of Panel Data, edition 6, chapter 0, pages 187-228, Springer.
    16. Plödt, Martin & Reicher, Claire A., 2015. "Estimating fiscal policy reaction functions: The role of model specification," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 113-128.
    17. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Žďárek, Václav, 2017. "Fiscal reaction function and fiscal fatigue: evidence for the euro area," Working Paper Series 2036, European Central Bank.
    18. Serhan Cevik & Katerina Teksoz, 2014. "Deep Roots of Fiscal Behavior," Journal of Banking and Financial Economics, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 2(2), pages 5-33, November.
    19. Youssef, Ahmed & Abonazel, Mohamed R., 2015. "Alternative GMM Estimators for First-order Autoregressive Panel Model: An Improving Efficiency Approach," MPRA Paper 68674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Eicher, Theo S. & Schreiber, Till, 2010. "Structural policies and growth: Time series evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 169-179, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy; euro-area countries; fiscal rules; pro and counter-cyclical policies; policy symmetry over the cycle; ex post and real-time data; dynamic panel models.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_654_08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bdigvit.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bdigvit.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.