Beyond 2015: Maintaining Ireland’s Public Finances on a Sustainable Path
In this note, three mechanical fiscal rules that are designed to maintain a sustainable path for the public finances are examined. Adherence to a strict numerical target for the deficit ratio has a procyclical effect on the economy’s growth rate. Building a safety margin into deficit targets in the manner of the Stability and Growth Pact allows the public finances to have a stabilising influence on the growth cycle and ensures a lower average government debt ratio is achieved over time. A debt target rule would result in a different path for the structural primary budget balance and the debt ratio over time even when the long run targets for those variables were the same as under the Pact.
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