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Post-Thatcher Fiscal Strategies in the U.K.: An Interpretation

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  • Andrew Hughes Hallett

Abstract

Fiscal policy in Britain has changed radically since the Keynesianism of the 1960s and 1970s. After a passive period under monetarism of the 1980s, fiscal policy is said to have adopted a leadership role with long term objectives (low debt, the provision of public services/ investment, and social equity), together with an independent central bank. Monetary policy, operating with instrument independence, then takes care of short run stabilisation. I test this view – confronting it with evidence from the institutional arrangements put in place since 1997; with econometric evidence from the policy responses themselves; and with theoretical evidence on the incentive to choose such a regime in the first place. I conclude that this claim is broadly correct. It appears that the UK’s improved performance is a consequence of the advantages of combining fiscal leadership with an (instrument) independent central bank. The key feature is the ability to trade target (not instrument) independence in monetary policy to secure greater coordination between fiscal and monetary strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2004. "Post-Thatcher Fiscal Strategies in the U.K.: An Interpretation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1372, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1372
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1372.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Andrew Hughes Hallett & Diana N. Weymark, 2005. "Independence Before Conservatism: Transparency, Politics and Central Bank Design," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, February.
    6. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Sustainable fiscal policies and budgetary risk under alternative monetary policy arrangements," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 1-28, March.
    2. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Debt targets and fiscal sustainability in an era of monetary independence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 165-187, July.
    3. Andrew Hughes Hallett, 2008. "Coordination without Explicit Cooperation: Monetary-Fiscal Interactions in an Era of Demographic Change," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 305, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

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    Keywords

    Stackelberg leadership; policy complementarity; institutional coordination;

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